ask the readers: bad behavior from job candidates

We hear about plenty of bad behavior from job seekers here — from the candidate who sent a cake and a framed photo of himself to the hiring manager (?!), to the person who was intentionally late to interviews as a “strategy,” to the guy who advertised his job-hunting spouse on a billboard, and so many more.

Now it’s time to expand our list. What’s the worst or weirdest behavior you’ve ever seen from a job candidate?  (There’s a whole category in the archives for bad behavior from interviewers, so this is not one-sided.)

Share in the comments, and leave no detail out.

{ 1,533 comments… read them below }

  1. Apparatchic*

    One candidate arrived a full HOUR ahead of time, so I had to send her to a nearby coffee shop. Once in the interview, she explained her cross-cultural relationship strategy as “perfecting my bitch-face”… not great in any circumstance, but definitely not great at our small faith-based NGO.

    1. ZSD*

      Wait, she wanted to look more bitchy, or she wanted to *correct* her bitch-face so she looked more friendly? And either way…I wish I could read her mind to understand what this has to do with cross-cultural relationships.

      1. Apparatchic*

        Noooo, her strategy for working with people in other countries was to HAVE a bitch-face. As in… that was how she dealt with possible positionality issues, intercultural conflicts, etc. Bitch-face. We still joke about it in our team because that is probably the WORST way to develop relationships with international partners!

        (I forgot to mention that our elderly ED was in this meeting.)

        1. EmmaLou*

          Darn, I was hoping that her meaning was that she thought “cross-cultural” had to do with crabby people :D. You know, because they are all cross… and she’d thought that all her life when she heard the term.

    2. some1*

      This happened when I was a receptionist 14 years ago; except the candidate refused to go get coffee. We weren’t really set up to have any visitors wait more than a few minutes so it was inconvenient for me.

      1. Apparatchic*

        One of the interviewers was literally at lunch so we actually couldn’t get started! But either way, SO inconvenient, right?

      2. Fog*

        Oh man, that’s giving me horrifying receptionist flashbacks. People who arrive way inappropriately early and sit in the too-small lobby right in front of you, and take up the next half hour -hour of your time with inane small talk or questioning. Go sit in your car and play games on your phone!

        1. Anna*

          Side note very late: I recently went to an interview and got there about 1o minutes early (like you do). Their lobby area was in the middle of an open floor plan so I got to sit there awkwardly staring at everyone working while I waited to start my interview.

    3. SJ*

      I had an interview this morning, and though I’d been to the building (at a university) twice before, they were both during off-times — never during rush hour. So I left myself even more extra time just in case and got there 45 minutes early. Security at the main desk asked when my appointment was and then said, “Oh, you should just go up to their wing now and show them that you’re SO punctual that you’re early!” Ah, no thanks, sir, I’m just gonna be seated in that waiting area over there until a more appropriate time…

      1. Apparatchic*

        I’m ALWAYS super-early for interviews – which is why I always research coffee shops in the area so that I can grab some tea and calm down before walking over for my usual 3-5 minutes early. I appreciate her effort (ish), but it showed a lack of judgement that was confirmed in her interview.

        1. ThatGirl*

          Same – I give myself tons of time to do last minute prep etc but I am also prepared to wait in my car or find a coffeeshop nearby. I’d never skulk in a lobby for an hour.

        2. SJ*

          Definitely! Before my first interview I figured there’d be a number of big waiting areas on the main floor (it’s a giant university business building), so I was prepared to hunker down in a corner on the main floor before heading up to the 4th floor at a reasonable time, but if there weren’t any I was going to skedaddle and find a coffee shop. I work at a university now and it’s so awkward when someone who has a meeting or interview shows up 25 minutes early and they insist on hanging out in the lobby instead of going across the walk to the student union building.

          1. TrainerGirl*

            Yes, it’s bad enough waiting when your interviewer doesn’t show up on time. I definitely wouldn’t show up an hour early.

        3. INTP*

          Yeah, it comes across as very presumptuous if you’re more than 5-10 minutes early imo. It comes across like “Showing off how punctual I am is more important than not inconveniencing people.”

          (Barring exceptional circumstances, like if there are literally no places to stand around for awhile indoors before going into the office proper and it’s freezing/raining/unsafe outside.)

          1. Apparatchic*

            As an obsessively early person, I actually have come to realize that being early is NOT being punctual! Part of good time management is really realizing that arriving on time means not inconveniencing anyone or expecting anyone to change their schedule for you.

            (Agreed on all the exceptional circumstances listed – if there had been a blizzard or no coffee shop in the next building, it would be totally different.)

            1. Boss Cat Meme*

              I was on my way to an interview once in a cab, and I had with me a small glass aquarium. I had to do a live presentation to the board of an educational program that I had designed for children. I left really early because I knew traffic would be really bad that time of day. I was a few blocks from the place and the cab driver (with me in the cab) was slammed in the intersection! My aquarium had a big crack in it and probably would no longer hold water, I had a big cut on my knee that torn my nylons and left bloodstains on them, and I was a complete nervous wreck! I got to the place and found a restroom in the lobby and cleaned myself all up, and I threw away the nylons and tried to calm myself down. When I was cool, I went to the organization and told the receptionist that I was so sorry I was late, but this is what happened, and I would like to reschedule the interview if they would allow it. The receptionist left and came back with the woman I supposed to meet who said, “You’re not late, you’re right on time!” She said she explained to the board what happened, and if I could possibly present that day, would I consider doing so? So I did, thinking I had no chance at that point. I got a big round of applause when I finished, and I got the job! ALWAYS be extra early is my motto, but when I am, I will make myself scarce outside somewhere until it’s time for the interview.

              1. stevenz*

                There’s a best-worst story if I ever heard one. Congratulations! But how were the fish?

          2. Library Director*

            My rule of thumb is give myself plenty of time, but to present myself about 15 minutes early. If I need to ask for restroom this gives me a chance to “freshen up”, check my teeth for spinach, etc. Of course I always bring appropriate reading material. “Library Research Skills For Teapot Makers” rather than my gory murder mystery.

        1. LadyLatteMotif*

          “Bitch-face” is the kind of buzzwordy youth slang that Buzzfeed would make a lot of use of, right up there with “on fleek.”

          1. Saturn9*

            You’re not kidding. #7 on Buzzfeed’s list of 10 Ways To Slay Your Dream Job is “Make sure your bitch-face is on fleek.”

    4. The lazy b (with spaces today for no particular reason)*

      Years ago I had an interview. I arrived really as I always do only to find out there was no cafe or anything nearby to wait in. I waited outside for a while (I didn’t have a car back then) but it was freezing and extremely windy so I went inside and said basically I know I’m super early but can I just sit in reception till you’re ready? They said fine. I went through my papers and waited. I got the job.

      1. The Expendable Redshirt*

        My story is somewhat similar. I took transit to an interview, arrived 50 min early, and discovered that there were no coffee shop type places nearby. The weather was bad, so I walked back in and talked to the receptionist. I let the receptionist know that I knew I was very early for my interview at X time. After a very short period sitting, the interviewer came to get me. The interview started, and it soon became clear that there was a mixup. The interviewer thought that I was a different late (no show) candidate ! Despite this confusion, I was offered the job.

        1. Apparatchic*

          I think these situations are different – first of all, the weather was bad, and secondly there was nothing nearby! It’s not ideal, but it’s not as egregious as just… showing up super early with no exacerbating factors.

    5. INTP*

      I had a candidate arrive 2 hours ahead of time. The receptionist just told him to take a seat in the lobby…where he proceeded to have a nap. The lobby is between the C-suite offices and the middle management and meeting room areas, so all the execs saw him. I had just started as a junior recruiter and vouched for him after a short phone interview so it was a hit to my credibility for sure.

      In this case it was pretty presumptuous because there were plenty of places for him to wait. There were a variety of little quick service restaurants (including Subway which is very cheap), and there was free seating outside (San Diego – outdoor seating is tolerable like 300 days/year) as well as a lobby for the building in general before coming to our floor.

      1. afiendishthingy*

        Out of curiosity was it a sitting up, just nodded off type of nap? Or did he literally stretch out on a couch/across several chairs with his jacket as a pillow?

          1. Pineapple Incident*

            Still an unfortunate but egregious offense in interviewing. Under no circumstances should people in that scenario ever see you sleeping.

            1. Cath in Canada*

              A friend of mine once fell asleep on her interviewer’s shoulder during a research seminar that took place in the middle of an all-day interview. She’d taken an overnight train to the interview and hadn’t slept at all, and she was sitting in a comfy chair in a dark room, right after lunch. She got the job! But this was in academia.

            2. Afiendishthingy*

              Oh, absolutely- I was just extra amused by my mental picture of the guy kicking his shoes off and lying across multiple chairs!

    6. Elisabeth*

      I still cringe when I think about an interview from a number of years ago. I was about 45 minutes early, in order to give myself lots of commuting time and time to find the building, so I went to a nearby coffee shop to review/prepare/wait it out. Arrived at the interview about 5 minutes before my time, only to realize this place had two office locations and I was in the wrong one. It killed me that I was theoretically “early” but ended up being late after getting in a cab and racing across town.

      1. Buffay the Vampire Layer*

        I’ve done that too. And the thing is, I looked the guy up on their website and they said he was in office location A. When I got there, the receptionist was like, no, everyone knows he’s in B. Which he was, with a very lived-in office and everything. I did not get that job.

        1. Elisabeth*

          Glad to see I am not alone! I also did not get the job. Also went by the address listed on the website. Oy.

          1. anony*

            Oh, that must have been stressful. But the HR / hiring director didn’t provide the address to interview at?

        2. Afiendishthingy*

          Who the heck is “everybody”? How were you supposed to know?

          Meanwhile we FREQUENTLY have people show up for interviews but have NO IDEA who called them for the interview, and the poor receptionist ends up wandering around asking if anyone has an interview scheduled.

          1. Akcipitrokulo*

            I was applying for a job with the police in their IT department. I was about 10 minutes early, introduced myself at the desk, and was told to wait for interviewer. So I waited…

            A few minutes past interview start time, I asked at desk if they knew when they’d be here, and was told they’d been informed I had arrived, and would be down shortly.

            So I waited…

            The third time I went up to the desk to ask, there was someone else who had just popped in as well, who interrupted with “Oh, you want to talk to X? He’s at the other (minor) station.”

            Call to explain and taxi ride later, they do still see me… 40 minutes late.

            I did get offered the job though, so not all bad!

            1. CanadianKat*

              A decent workplace would tell you exactly where to go, especially when they have more than one location. They would also give you clear directions like: “Take the elevator to the 21st floor, and ask reception for Hugh Smith.” If not, they should instruct the receptionist that Charlie Candidate is expected at 3pm and she is to call Sally in HR.

      2. Carrie*

        I had an interview once at a company with 2-3 offices in the same 5 miles or so. It was entirely on me that I didn’t ask the interviewer specifically where the interview would be conducted, but she never specified which office it was either, just assumed I knew I guess. I ended up calling my friend who worked for them and asking him where his interview was and went with that location. I did end up being a few minutes late but the interviewer showed up after I did…so she never knew. Now I always specify the address of where we’re meeting! (I didn’t end up getting the job, but after seeing my friend’s experience working there, I’m glad).

    7. Janice in Accounting*

      Ha! My husband is a pastor and I’m going to tell him the next time he interviews for a job to be sure and talking about his bitch-face! :P

    8. Alison*

      We once had someone show up 3-4 HOURS before their scheduled interview. The interview was supposed to be at like 1 or 2 PM, and they were there before I got in at 10. Did not get hired.

      1. Joseph*

        I don’t understand how that’s even possible.

        I can see how maybe you might show up an hour early – You’re wanted to be a bit early to give yourself plenty of time for traffic, but the roads were super clear.

        But this is extreme – Even in the cities famous for their traffic (LA, Atlanta, etc), it doesn’t take anywhere close to 3 hours to get places. Like did he specifically plan to arrive super early as some weird sign of how he’s SUPER-DEDICATED or something?

        1. Carrie*

          Oh, sometimes it can in LA. I’ve spent 3 hrs on the road to go 30 miles. :( *insert more crying emoticons* usually because of an accident since “normal” traffic is more like an extra 45 mins or so.

          Fortunately I never had to go for job interviews in LA or OC, but if I had, I’d have left insanely early and researched ahead of time to find a coffee shop or library or something nearby, preferably 5-10 mins away, and spent the time there instead. I would definitely not show up at 10am for a 2pm interview. That’s insane.

        2. CanadianKat*

          It can if you’re coming from out of town by public transit. I once had an interview in a town 2 hours away. It was scheduled for 10am, and the only bus I could take was at 7:30, arriving 9:30. If the interview had been at 1pm, I would have taken the same bus. But haning around in the lobby – no. Would have found a public library, coffee shop, or at worst, the bus depot.

          As it happened, there was a huge snow storm and the bus was one hour late. I called them, explained to the receptionist, and they were able to reschedule my interview for 10:30, which was pretty amazing, considering it was a 4-person panel of senior partners. I got the job.

      2. Library Director*

        We had that happen and the person wanted to know why we couldn’t interview her right then. We had a cancellation and was able to move up her shortened interview.

        1. Chalupa Batman*

          I work with college students, and this is exactly why I generally refuse to see students who come way before their scheduled appointment time. It’s not (always) that I *can’t*, but I want to set the norm of 5-10 minutes early as the precedent. People tend to think of early as a good thing, but there’s a limit. Every now and then a student has a good reason and approaches it as “I understand and can come back/reschedule if you’re not free, but if you are can I see you now?” and I move them up if I can, but as a rule, no, I’m busy right now. I see part of my job as enforcing these types of norms now, when it’s not going to be as big a deal as a job interview or similar event.

  2. AndersonDarling*

    I was supposed to be in a peer interview with a candidate, but our HR rep never called me to say they were ready. Two hours later, I asked what happened and the Hiring Manager said the candidate was wearing a transparent shirt. Not an “Ops, I didn’t know the light would do that” kind of shirt, but a clubbing/lingerie kind of see through shirt where you could see every detail of the applicant’s bra.
    The Hiring Manager and HR Rep agreed not to move forward with the peer interviewer.

    1. Michelenyc*

      Unfotunately, this happesn a lot in the fashion industry. While you can get away with wearing some interesting things. A transparent shirt would not go over well!

    2. stevenz*

      Maybe the bra was the most expensive article of clothing she had, and wanted to dress to impress.

    3. Leelee*

      The same thing happened to me too – a candidate came in wearing a see-through top with an electric orange, textured bra underneath (like one people wear on nights out when the bra is part of the outfit). I wish I didn’t know all the details of her underwear but it was quite literally staring me in the face.

      My industry is extremely competitive, old-fashioned and conservative and this was for a client facing role. For some reason that was my final straw (after a LOT of hilariously clueless new-grad interviews) and I persuaded my bosses to let me go around the local colleges giving talks and workshops on what not to do. In theory it’s to help the kids get work, but really it’s to help me keep my sanity when we’re recruiting.

      1. Mel*

        I’m glad it’s not just me who wants to go to local colleges and explain how getting a job works. My big pet peeve is resumes – if I could teach all the local students just one thing, it would be that employers can’t use their psychic powers to figure out which programming language you built a project in, you have to *tell* us. It’s so frustrating to see a short mention of a project that could be a great example of relevant experience and then absolutely no details.

    4. Journalist Wife*

      I once had to interview a candidate to be my new assistant (at a University, so she was a student) who showed up wearing a leather-and-leopard-print lace-up bustier. I could see every bit of what the Good Lord gave her pushed up and over the top, on display, on purpose. At 9:00 a.m. in an office building. When the affirmative action rep chased me down later to demand me why I did not hire the minority candidate, I explained that while her resume was okay (it was just okay), I had found someone with a better resume who came for her interview wearing actual clothes. That was not good enough. I was reprimanded because my answer to the AA rep’s question, “Why didn’t you just send her home to cover her breasts, and then interview her again?” was, “Because this job requires good judgement and I preferred to just pick someone with enough common sense to not need to be told to wear a shirt to an interview.” Seriously, I got in trouble over that response.

      1. Dirty Paws*

        People aren’t born with common sense. One reason, among many, for AA is to help even the playing field for those who didn’t grow up with the advantage of good role models.

  3. Act*

    We will never, ever forget Flip Flop Guy.

    He came in in flip flops, bermuda shorts, and a t-shirt, arrived late, and when we asked him why he’d been late, he told us he’d just come from a beach party. We’re also pretty sure he was stoned.

    We laugh about it to this day. According to LinkedIn, he’s still freelancing, which, shocker.

    1. The Optimizer*

      I know a guy that used to do this very thing on purpose so he could continue to collect unemployment.

      1. Adam V*

        Don’t unemployment offices ever call to confirm that these interviews actually happened?

        Conversely, should you feel guilty telling the unemployment office that they essentially blew off the interview by showing up stoned and in beach wear?

        1. Dan*

          And they would call, and confirm it happened ;)

          In my state, we are only required to make a “job contact”, but we do have to accept a reasonable job if offered.

        2. SophieChotek*

          Forgive my ignorance, but I thought there was a set limit for collecting unemployment? (i.e. eventually you won’t get it anymore).

          1. The Optimizer*

            Correct, but he was determined to milk it for all it was worth. The requirements at the time were just that he had to apply so he would show up in a tank top, cut-offs and flip-flops to fill out an application. This was for restaurant industry jobs, where that was the norm at the time.

          1. Vroom Vroom*

            I’ve been called before to confirm that a candidate interviewed for a position and was not offered it. I was like… why? And they said because the candidate was filing for unemployment.

          2. anony*

            Years ago, my husband was on unemployment in Canada and they randomly chose him and asked him to prove where he had looked for work. We filled in a full page of where he had applied (and we were surprised it was as much as it was! He had applied to more places than he thought he did.). Ever since then, every time I end up on unemployment (sadly), I take pains to create a spreadsheet to track where I’ve applied or networked just in case they ask, because they can and sometimes do ask. I think it’s usually random, unless someone put in an anonymous complaint.

            1. Evie*

              It can also be good to do for practical reasons – my BF is currently job hunting and got an email from a company he’d applied to over a month ago, and had written off as “they’ve gone with someone else”. Because he’s been applying for a variety of positions, in a variety of locations (read, cities!) and this one was a website based application (vs an email with cover letter and resume) type, he had to scrounge around to find the original job add to remind himself about the what and where (email from the company just mentioned lining up an interview – not where or for what job, not even if it was for an in person or phone interview!).

              1. Honeybee*

                Yeah, when I was job hunting I started a spreadsheet with the links to the original job ad. It helps if you get contacted later and need to find the ad, and it also helped me avoid applying to the same position more than once.

                1. penny*

                  But you should also copy the job description in case they remove the posting while still interviewing for the job.

              2. CanadianKat*

                I always do a spreadsheet. Also helps with prioritizing. I enter all potential jobs in, together with details (e.g. city, specialization, experience required, application deadline, etc.). Then when I start actually preparing applications, I start with the “best” jobs first – i.e. most relevant to my experience and needs, but keeping in mind the deadline. I also record responses received – i.e. whether they indicated they’d be conducting interviews in 2 weeks (then by week 3 or 4 I can write this off), whether they send a refusal, how far I get in the interview process.

                The spreadsheet contained links, but once I actually applied to a job, I would save the posting offline (as well as the exact copy of what I sent them).

                I also put in the spreadsheet which job sites / other sources to check regularly and when was the last time I checked, so that I don’t miss anything, but don’t have to go over week-old postings if I can see that I checked 3 days ago (though usually that’s daily for me).

        3. Liane*

          In my state, apparently companies report new hires to Workforce Department.
          When you’re on unemployment all you have to do is make 3 job contacts per week. And a contact per Workforce can be as little as a business telling you to go to their website to apply if you walk in and ask if they are hiring. I guess actually filling out the online app would be a second contact.
          Only after so many weeks do you actually have to keep a record of the contacts, so that you can show it if you are asked. Before that point, you just click Yes to the Did You Make 3 Contacts Last Week question when you log in to the site each week.

        4. Canadian Dot*

          I used to work in a retail store (Canada), and we had people come in and ask my manager to sign that they had applied for a job there. Without actually applying for a job. And they were SO put out when my manager would tell them that she’d be happy to sign, if they’d like to fill in an application, drop it off with a resume, and come to a group interview.

          1. Paquita*

            My husband worked at a fast food place years ago. Someone did that one day, the manager said we are hiring now, the guy said ‘I don’t want a job, you just need to sign my paper’. Manager said NO and the guy came over the counter going after the manager. Police were called and took the guy away.

            1. Chaordic One*

              When I was on unemployment and filed my claim every week, in addition to having to apply for only two jobs every week, I was asked if I had been offered and turned down any offers for employment.

              On the one hand, there certainly are lazy people who milk the system, but on the other hand the Department of Workforce Services is so preoccupied with unemployment applicants getting a job, any job, that they don’t give any thought to the actual job, what it pays, the benefits (if any) or if it is a good fit for the unemployed person. They encourage underemployment.

              I fibbed when answering the question, because I turned down a couple of job offers that were not good fits for me, but I denied it on the weekly unemployment claim form. This might not have worked if I had turned down an offer for a job that I applied for through the state Department of Workforce Services website and they had followed up about it. To cover my tracks, I applied for more than just two jobs every week. On my spreadsheet, I left off the jobs that made offers, but didn’t fit me very well. By holding out I took a risk that paid off for me and I was able to get a job that offered a better fit (and better pay and benefits).

              1. curious*

                That’s fraud. The government was GIVING you money. If you want to hold out for a better job, fine, but do it on your own dime. The taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for you to find a “better fit.”

                1. Rayner*

                  But there’s no point in taking a job that pays under the salary you need to survive. Like, if you’ve apllied for full time but they come hack and offer 2.5 days a week, that’s just not going to work even though the computer says you should accept it.

                2. Gina*

                  Each employee pays into the Unemployment Fund. As do the employers. So no the “government” wasn’t giving them anything. I am the payroll admin for my company so I know of what I speak.

                3. Annonymouse*

                  I’d argue it’s less fraudulent than the people in the above examples who asked to be signed off without actually applying.

                  Chaordic One is searching for employment above the bare minimum and looking to find a good job so they don’t have to go back to being on unemployment a year or less later because the pay is too low or the role doesn’t fit their skills.

              2. she was a fast machine*

                Hell, I have worked at a Workforce Office; WE are underemployed. Our ultimate goal is “to make people self-sufficient” but we don’t even make livable wages. So I feel you.

            2. ThatAspie*

              That is the kind of person whose stupidity and dishonesty makes the good people who really do need help look bad. Fortunately, their ilk is actually statistically rare. Unfortunately, the fact that fakers are rare does not seem to deter certain politicians from exaggerating the number of fraudsters and passing useless laws that only make it harder for nice people to get the help they need.

      2. Dan*

        I wanna move there. Virginia unemployment is the same across the state – about $375/week. In Northern Virginia, that pays the rent and nothing more (and that’s if you’re lucky). Whenever I’m on unemployment, I’m thankful the rent is getting paid, but I still have to eat you know. So, I bust my tail to get off of it.

        I wanna move somewhere where unemployment is worth milking.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I don’t know if there is such a place.

          Ours is based on a percentage of what you were making before (I think), so when I was on it from a lower-paying job, I had to have family help me to even eat. The last time, I got more because I made more–it was still not enough, but the amount of help I needed was much less. And lucky for me, I’d already taken steps to cut back on my expenses. Plus, I could take longer to find something decent rather than taking the first minimum wage thing someone shoved at me. Which would have put me right back on that help-me-eat income tier!

          1. Dan*

            Massachusetts pays $600/week. I’m wondering if Western MA (where things are cheaper) might just be that place… (you could have had a job in Boston where you’d max out the unemployment, and then move.)

            1. afiendishthingy*

              Oh my god, I got paid $400/week working full-time in Mass. In 2014! I lived out of state, though.

              1. afiendishthingy*

                Come to think of it that was my take-home pay, though. It was about $600 before taxes and insurance.

              1. Dan*

                I was laid off from a $70k job in NoVA, where we got the $375. If I understand you correctly, I would have maxed out the $600 in Mass? Yup, I’d rather have that than $375.

          2. Rachel*

            That’s how it works here in Illinois. It’s based on your average weekly wage (pre-tax) in your two highest-earning quarters in the previous year – you get 47% of that per week. (For example, if you made $450/week at your job, you would get $212/week on unemployment – also before taxes.) The maximum weekly amount you get is capped at $437/week. ($521/week if you have a nonworking spouse, $595/week if you have a dependent child/children).

        2. Lee*

          As someone who lives in southern central part of VA (suburb of Richmond), this is enough to live on monthly.
          In fact, the high cost of living in NOVA drove the DOL southern census region income numbers up significantly. I believe it’s because most people who work in D.C. live in Maryland or NOVA, and their high incomes drive up the cost of living and cost of land. I believe there’s additional states taxes in the Hampton Roads area as well.

          1. SouthernBelle*

            No, it’s not. Unless you live in a roommate environment with 0 expenses like credit card debt, utilities, etc. However, if you are a single person, with a mortgage, debt, the need to eat, etc., unemployment paid at $375 ($360 if you allow them to take taxes out of it before you receive it) is not enough. Source: Firsthand knowledge in the Hampton Roads area.

            1. Lee*

              Absolutely, it’s another world in NOVA and around the Hampton Roads area.

              The rest of Virginia…not so much.

              1. Honeybee*

                Rent must be super cheap outside of NoVA and Hampton Roads (the only two parts of VA I’m familiar with). That’s only $1,500 a month.

        3. Court*

          It’s not supposed to be worth milking. It’s supposed to provide for your absolute necessities while you get back on your feet.

          1. Vicki*

            I’ve been on unemployment It’s barely minimum wage, requires a lot of paperwork, and has a set end date.

        4. A grad student*

          I’m in SW Virginia, and that’s about what I make off my graduate stipend, so it might be worth milking if you moved down here!

    2. Florida*

      Years ago, I worked in the training/recruiting office of a timeshare resort. Someone came to an interview wearing a golf shirt with the logo of our main competitor! We probably would not have held the golf shirt against him. It was casual, but he looked neat. But why a golf shirt with the name of our main competitor? That’s like going to apply for a job at Coke while wearing a Pepsi shirt.
      This was a place that hired almost anyone with a pulse to work in the sales department. He didn’t get the job.

    3. KarenD*

      We’re a medium-sized company in a well-known resort location.We don’t have this as much any more (because there just aren’t that many openings any more, and we don’t do the kind of 2-3 day interview that used to be standard) but at one point, every time we advertised a position we’d see marked interest from people who were retired or had taken nice buyouts. Some of their resumes were impressive, to say the least – so impressive that we’d almost have to bring them in for an interview.

      And those interviews would go something like this: They’d walk in, look around with a distinctly unimpressed air, make comments like “Oh, you still use salt glaze on your teapots? How very quaint!” and offer our senior management some “friendly critiques” about how we could be oh, so much better. They’d answer our questions politely but vaguely and then drill down on what was really important: That golf course by my hotel. Is it public or private? What are the other good courses in the area? Do you have any designed by Famous Golf Course Designer Guy? How about other Famous Golf Course Designer Guy? How hard is it to get a decent tee time? Some of them actually booked tee times during the interview trip! (We didn’t really mind if they asked to come a day or two early or leave a day or two late, but they were scheduling golf while they were supposed to be interviewing.)

      Unfortunately for us, our high-echelon management was easily starstruck and any time they got wind of one of these “superstars,” we had to make an effort to reel them in. All we could do is place side bets on how soon in the conversation the G-word would come up.

      Then there was Boyfriend Woman. She wanted to move here because her boyfriend lived here. Fair enough. But on the first day of the interview, she asked what restaurant they planned to take her to (meals were a structured part of the interview process) and then called her boyfriend and told him where to meet us! This was, by the way, a mid-career professional, not someone fresh out of college and deficient of clues.

    4. Steve*

      I got a mere 8 page resume from a candidate. When it was time to do the coding part of the interview he turned what should have been a 6-line method into 50 lines or so. Coincidence, or just stupid?

    5. Vicki*

      A friend of mine once interviewed a candidate for a system admin job. The candidate showed up in bright yellow sweatpants and sweatshirt.

      He was not hired.

  4. Alston*

    I got a 17 page resume from someone. It had his education back through preschool and listed accomplishments/what he’d learned from it as well.

      1. Hermione*

        I’d love it if his advancement in color theory or tactile painting techniques were listed as growth-accomplishments through his later schooling.

      2. INTP*

        I’m wondering if it was a private or competitive preschool and he was really trying to convey “Hey, I have rich parents, hire me fellow snobs!”

        1. One of the Sarahs*

          My sister landed in a weird set of uni accommodation. At the first “get to know you” night, this group of posh-accented people rampaged through the room asking everyone “Did you PAY?”. My sister was all “WTF?”, but politely asked what they meant. “For your education, did you PAY?” Cue my sister and her flatmates cracking up at the idea of a 6 year old handing over her pocket money and such – and instant bonding, so you can still ask them, 15 years later, “Did you PAY?” and be guaranteed hilarity will ensue.

          1. Fog*

            Ah yes, I went to a private school where I had to hide the fact that I was a “scholarship kid” if I wanted to make friends. Glad your friend and her roommates got to bond over it.

      3. A*

        Reminds me of Frank Caliendo’s joke about muppets looking for jobs – Grover’s resume said he was an “expert in spatial relations,” which basically just meant he knew the difference between ‘near’ and ‘far.’

    1. Apparatchic*

      This made me laugh out loud. I really want to know what his key accomplishments were through middle school.

      1. addlady*

        “Learn how to hit on target gender through a variety of techniques including negging, sweet-talking, and deception. Eventually just settled on being straight-forward and cleaning up personal appearance and behaviors.”

    2. KE*

      Similar, except my candidate’s was only 4 pages, but still managed to include his middle school theater production credits and which roles he played.

      This position was in no way related to the arts, public speaking, or anything else where childhood theater participation could be considered remotely relevant.

      1. Artemesia*

        Hard to imagine what he could have been thinking. For a theater job, it would fit in a cover letter about one’s lifelong passion for theater I suppose. But anything else? While a new grad might reference work during HS — middle school? WTF.

    3. Dan*

      At my prior job (government contractor), we had someone from the South submit a 10-page resume… which included his work as a pastor at his church.

      We didn’t hire him.

      1. LawLady*

        So 10 pages is obviously problematic. But if he worked as a pastor, wouldn’t it be pretty normal to include that on a resume as work experience? There are lots of great transferrable skills from being in the clergy. (i.e. people skills, public speaking, discretion)

        1. KR*

          Seconding this – pastors work HARD. It requires a lot of interpersonal skills, volunteer coordination, research, historical knowledge.

          1. Dan*

            No argument there. The thing is, our primary (and sole) work was supporting a federal agency. This guy actually had 20 years of experience working for said federal agency, and that was what made us interested in him. So the pastoral work was completely incidental, and two pages of it was just… strange. (Ok, not strange in the context of a ten page resume, but when you’re interested in the 20 years of experience he had as his primary job, reading two pages about church is just weird.) If you *are* going to write two pages about a job with transferable skills, focus on the transferable skills, and de-focus the actual employment.

            I wasn’t privy to the hiring decisions, but when I looked at the 10 page monster, I was like “damn.” The church stuff, not focused on transferable skills, just added to it.

            1. Mickey Q*

              My dad put a 30-year career spread over 7 different countries on 1 page.
              I laugh every time I see someone with 5 years of experience or even 10 have to go to multiple pages.

            2. Snargulfuss*

              Well, I’ve heard federal recruiters often talk about how much more info you include on a federal-style resume as opposed to a traditional one. Perhaps because the organization is a government contractor he thought it want a federal-style resume.

        2. Dan*

          I get what you’re saying, and this is where it comes down to a resume being a marketing document. If he turned in a page or two with a bullet or two discussing his pastorial work, I don’t think I’d bat an eye — particularly if he focused on the transferable skills aspects.

          But 1) It was a ten page document, and 2) That means he had a couple of pages to explain how his pastorial skills are useful outside the clergy, and he didn’t do it.

          The whole package just came across as WTF. TBH, I have the same sentiment reading many stories here — the underlying motives seem OK, but it’s the delivery/what’s done about it that gets people shown the door. Take the one about the job that was paying at the below end of market range plus no benefits. The applicant more or less told the interviewer that the company was a bunch of cheap bastards and only cared about profit. You know what? She’s 100% right, but her delivery was just completely wrong. Same idea here.

      2. Miss Betty*

        Pastor is a legitimate job and a legitimate career path which, in most mainstream denominations, requires a college degree, often a masters degree. It also requires a gamut of skills, including writing, public speaking, counseling, management and supervision, even bookkeeping, accounting, and web skills if the church is small. (I know some denominations and independent churches allow people – usually men – to be ordained without any education, but they’re not they majority.)

        I can understand why you were put off by the 10 page resume, but are you seriously suggesting that someone leave a job off their resume just because it’s pastor? What if this is someone changing careers – do you expect them to show up with a blank resume? What if they’re a part-time pastor (same requirements as a full-time pastor) that needs a secular job to supplement her pastor income. That’s not uncommon for small church pastors. Do you really discount all their education, skills, and experience just because they’re a pastor? (And does it matter that they’re from the south? What if he’d been a nothern pastor?)

        1. Dan*

          See above, but the preaching job was a side thing. He had 20 years working for the federal agency that my company supported, and that was the interest we had in him.

          Since you asked… in the context of what my company did (government contracting), and his total background (includes 20 years of employment by the federal agency we supported), it was out of place to spend two pages on pastoral work. Am I suggesting he leave it off entirely? If he’s not going to focus on the transferable skills, yes. (Remember, you don’t have to put every job you’ve ever had on a resume.)

          His package would have read very differently if he limited his resume to 1-2 pages, limited discussion of his church work to two or three sentences, and discussed some of the transferable skills in his cover letter.

          The reality is, the position required 15 years of experience in his primary job. Without that, nothing else matters.

          1. Artemesia*

            I suspect since he was from the south, he thought this would help him because discrimination based on religion is a thing there. One of the topics of conversation we constantly were emerged in when we first settled in the south for my job was ‘where do you go to church’ or ‘you will feel more comfortable once you are churched.’ Church membership is a plus or even a requirement many places.

            1. Lefty*

              Absolutely agree that this could have been a contributor!

              As a former government contractor in a Southern state as well, I can recall MANY instances of someone asking what church I was going to join… and some clear distaste for my lack of an answer.

    4. Rincat*

      I got a resume like that once from a woman who had earned about 6 degrees (two Bachelors, 4 Masters) in very disparate things. She’d been employed as an admin assistant for a state government for about 30 years and I guess they funded all her school work. She put down not only every college class she ever attend (and it was a LOT), but also every conference and session she ever attended! Like “How to make greeting cards in Photoshop.”

      1. Edith*

        My goodness. Not even my employer who pays for me to go to conferences cares which sessions I go to.

    5. intldevt*

      Ohhhh god. Amazing. I once got a super, super long CV from someone that included CHAPTERS and extensive personal anecdotes. It’s like he had started off trying to write a memoir, given up, and then said “hmm, I could rework some of this for my CV.” I will never forget the chapter (entitled “my teenage years”) that began with “the death of my father affected me profoundly…”

      1. Snork Maiden*

        Oh man. You can’t just leave us hanging here, intldevt! How did he overcome his grief? Did he overcome his grief?

      2. Elizabeth West*

        We got one like that once at Exjob that was a handwritten document, with a photocopy of the guy’s driver’s license at the top. It rambled on for pages. We kept it for a while just because it was so bizarre. I called it “the manifesto resume.”

        1. Artemesia*

          We got one on a large postcard written in a spiral from the outside curving around in circles to the center — with a little extra on the front of the card. We got another with a velum cover sheet with scrolled border and a really ugly head shot with (X organizations new VP for Finance) under it. I mean we were not giving points for attractiveness in hiring the VP but why would you lead with a picture if you were goofy looking? I actually wondered if it were an experiment for a dissertation i.e. sent the same resume to 20 similar jobs, some with pictures of handsome man, some with black man, some with goofy guy, and some with a woman’s picture to see if this affected interview calls.

      3. OpheliaInWaders*

        I suspect we work in the same field…I once got a CV that not only included things like conferences and such, but also included the birth dates of children and the applicant’s blood type! (Said CV did not include pertinent things like actual dates of employment or descriptions of roles)

          1. SusanIvanova*

            Or waches too much anime? Anime/manga characters frequently show them because in Japan blood types are like astrology signs: they’re supposed to say something about your personality.

            1. Julia*

              My Japanese friends and colleagues are always astonished when I say I do not know my blood type. But since there are only 4 (and I guess negatives), does that mean there are only four personality types and everyone with the same one as me must have similar characteristics? At least zodiac signs have some variety.

              1. SusanIvanova*

                Wikipedia says yep, only 4: wiki Blood_type_personality_theory The history behind it is interesting, since it’s a very recent development.

    6. Jadelyn*

      WOW! That beats the 12-pager that’s holding my current record – it went back to his first job as a dishwasher in a monastery in the 70s.

      1. Marillenbaum*

        Not gonna lie, that sounds like it has the potential to be a very interesting backdrop for a novel.

      2. many bells down*

        There’s a political candidate on the local election ballot I just got that’s listed every job he ever held as “relelvant experience”. All the way back to “Costco cashier”.

        1. Janice in Accounting*

          To be honest, if more political candidates had at one point worked as Costco cashiers, they might be better plugged in to the needs of their constituents.

    7. 1023*

      I recently received a similar resume, however it also listed the accomplishments of his children (getting into top schools, competitive sports, etc.). I have no idea why he thought that was important to the role we are hiring for.

      1. afiendishthingy*

        “I have no idea why he thought that was important to the role we are hiring for.” <—- Mantra of everyone who reads resumes

        I got a 2-page resume from a recent grad, written in approximately 4 point font (ok, maybe 7 or 8), which included like 15 bullet points about a summer internship in a university experimental forest. Very technical biochemistry stuff that none of us knew anything about, because we are a human services agency.

        Also had somebody list all their firearms certifications. Yes, that will come in handy in this job working with 5-year-olds with autism!

        Another applicant's only job experience was as "Hawaiian Hula Dancer". That was the job title.

        1. EGdub*

          I work with college students, who often have limited experience and list funny things because, well, that’s all they have, but I have seen two undergrads list modeling experience on their resumes.

      2. Honeybee*

        A lot of modern parents of high-achieving kids subscribe to this model I like to call ‘managed childhood.’ They see themselves as essentially the executive producers of their children’s lives, helping them curate their extracurricular activities, volunteer activities, summer experiences, music lessons, dance lessons, sports leagues, standardized testing…it’s exhausting to listen to them talk about. (I moderate an online community filled with these kids and their parents, and I used to do SAT tutoring to – as you can imagine – wealthy parents who could afford the price tag and intended for their kids to go to elite schools. The parents do indeed talk about their children’s accomplishments as if they were a joint effort or a project managed or something like that.)

    8. B-Bam*

      I received a 9 page resume once as a follow up to a normal resume from the applicant because they felt we could handle the truth. Rather than list jobs, it was a very disturbing account of the person’s life through the lens of very serious mental health issues. I shredded it out of consideration to the person who was clearly having a crisis but some of it stuck in my head – mostly the bit where the person went off on how it was not them in that 1970s porn movie but their high school nemesis with the applicant’s face superimposed on it.

      1. Mookie*

        Wow. Just out of curiosity, where they old enough to have been in a 70s porn, or was time-travel involved?

    9. vpc*

      My CV is ten pages, one per year, but it’s federal-style, and even then it starts with my college education and my first post-college job, since those are the first elements relevant to my field. My resume fits on a page.

      I reviewed one recently where the person had noted every single performance bonus she ever received… and she hadn’t gotten one since 2010, after getting one every year for the previous ten or so. That caused us to probe a little deeper about performance in her current position during the interview, for sure! It came down to “that boss just doesn’t like me if I don’t meet deadlines or do quality work.” So we didn’t hire her, ’cause deadlines and quality are pretty important on our team.

      1. Artemesia*

        No senior academic worth his salt will have a CV shorter than 15 or 20 pages; it is an entirely different deal than a resume.

        1. SomeoneLikeAnon*

          I have several resumes. My federal is roughly 10 pages spanning a 12-year career. I have a 4-5 page high level one. Then I have a two-page one that I cherry pick from the high level and federal. I usually only turn in the two-page, unless asked for more detail.

    10. Library Director*

      Oh my. When I was a school librarian there was a period I was required to give grades. So, silly me, I made the learning real. When one of the pre-teen grades would blow off the in-library work I graded accordingly. I had parents who were horrified and argued that they would never get into a good college. I used to assure them that no college or job interviewer was going to ask what their grade in library was. I did point out that the assignment was using research materials answers and making flash cards for the annual teapot history test. So, by blowing off the work they were throwing away prime study time for the big test.

  5. Anon for this*

    – Calling and calling and calling and calling

    – Trying to use the fact that she went to the same church as a manager (they hadn’t met previously – big church)

    1. TheAssistant*

      How did she even know about the church?! Other than “do you go to House of God? I think I saw you last Sunday!” this screams creepy to me.

      1. Chinook*

        “How did she even know about the church?! ”

        Depends on how they participate. If anyone does readings, is in the choir or gives communion, people will know them on sight (even if they can’t place from where). On the flip side, from giving out communion, I also recognize church goers by their face even if we have never talked (only because we are required to watch them eat the host, so you actually do spend a moment looking at their face).

        I wouldn’t call it creepy, just weird and not how I would introduce myself unless I thought I knew them from somewhere but couldn’t place them.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            If this is a Catholic church, the host is considered a blessed object and you aren’t supposed to do anything weird with it. Like palm it and take it to your weekend Satanic ritual, for example. When the priest does the ritual that goes, “The body of Christ; the blood of Christ,” etc., Catholics believe that the host and wine actually change to the actual body and blood of Jesus. It’s called transubstantiation. Some churches put it on your tongue and some let you receive it in your hand. But you have to eat it right then–you can’t just walk off with it.

            When they started giving it in your hand and letting you feed it to yourself, I was always terrified I would drop mine and the priest would thunder,”YOU HAVE PROFANED THE HOLINESS OF THE EUCHARIST!” in front of the whole church.

            1. Chinook*

              What Elizabeth said. I have actually had no-catholics come up for communion and take the host and not consume it but just walk off, looking at it. We are worried, at worse, about it being stolen for satanic rituals and, at best, being left as a bookmark in a hymnal (which, for we believers, would be the equivalent of leaving Jesus between the pages). One guy, with dementia, walked away and had three different people stop him before he got back to his seat to make sure he knew he either had to consume it or give it back (to be consumed or left in water to disintegrate. When the latter doesn’t happen in the water, it is considered a miracle and has happened 3 in the last 500 years. Google Eucharistic miracle – Argentina for one example).

              Sometimes it is with the best of intentions that this happens. I saw a child split it in half to share with her non-Catholic friend. The priest later had to explain that while she had great intentions, it wasn’t something she should do. In our eyes, it is like giving a $100 bill to a 2 year old – all they see is a pretty piece of paper that everyone wants without understanding its true value.

              1. Amber T*

                Right before my uncle’s funeral mass began, an adult daughter of a friend of his and my aunt, who was Jewish, was asking a lot of questions, and while curiosity is good and its always positive to learn about other religions, you gotta consider the time and place (asking my mourning aunt why you have to stand/sit/kneel while she’s digging around for tissues = NOT GOOD).

                So it’s time in the mass to receive the host. I was in the front pew with my aunt so we had already returned to our seats before people in the back had received. This woman walks up to the priest, plucks it from his hands before he says anything, and starts walking away. It took the priest a second to realize what was happening before he chased her down. Now I have a horrible habit of laughing during funerals (a weird nervous tick? I have no idea what’s wrong with me), but it was hard not to chuckle. If this had happened not at a funeral, it would have been very difficult not to laugh out loud.

                1. Isabel*

                  Oh man, this made me remember one of my most embarrassing moments:

                  I was not raised going to church. When I was in high school, a classmate died in an accident. Her service was held in a Catholic church. The friend sitting next to me had been very close to the girl who died and sobbed, quietly but inconsolably, throughout the service. She was Catholic. When it came time for the Eucharist, she pulled me up and clung to my arm, dragging me up the aisle as I whispered my protests. I didn’t want to manually peel her off my arm as she cried! So there I was, in line and then in front of the priest, with absolutely no idea what to do. He held the wafer to me and looked into my eyes. I wanted to disappear. So… I took it in my hand, mumbled thank you and hurried away.

                  UGH, it was even worse than I thought. No one came after me, but that is probably because the place was packed and there was no space to give chase!

                2. Chinook*

                  Isabel, honestly, if they thought you shouldn’t have it or did something shifty, they would have chased you even if the place was packed, trust me. But, if you ate it quietly, no one would have noticed or said anything because we literally have no clue if you have had First Communion or not. add to that the fact that you were doing a “good thing” by physically supporting your friend, I would consider the issue an non-issue. Part of what Catholics consider a requirement of sin is intent. You had no intent (in fact, your intent was the opposite) and you consumed it (I am guessing). Ergo, nothing to feel horrible about.

                3. Mander*

                  This reminds me of my great-uncle’s funeral many years ago. My whole family is generic, not very observant Protestant, except for said uncle who converted to Catholicism when he fell in love with my aunt. At the funeral it rapidly became very obvious which of us were the non-Catholics. The poor priest was very confused at first when half the congregation didn’t know what to do or what prayers to say, so he started giving us instructions. It added a bit of humor to the service.

                4. Omne*

                  This is to Mander- I grew up Lutheran and I found out the first time I went to a Catholic church with my GF that our Lord’s Prayer is longer than the Catholic version (Our Father). Suddenly I was the only person speaking in the entire church.

                  BTW in case anyone runs into it, if you go through the Eucharist line as a non-Catholic you can cross your hands in front of your chest and bow slightly to the Priest, normally they acknowledge you or give you a quick blessing. It isn’t universal but either way it’s a fairly graceful way of opting out.

                5. Anonicat*

                  I’m way late to this discussion but man, for my next resume I should list my experience as a Brownie Junior Leader (aged 16)! Clearly recruiters are dying to hear about how my leadership skills were developed by teaching 8-year-olds to set fires!

        1. Gaia*

          I will admit that, being not at all religious, I was unfamiliar with the phrase “eat the host” and had a moment of abject horror when I thought you meant they EAT THE HOST.

          And then I read Elizabeth West’s comment below and felt silly.

          1. Chinook*

            ” had a moment of abject horror when I thought you meant they EAT THE HOST”

            And that is why that silly rumour about Catholics being cannibals/eating small children just won’t go away. :)

    2. Amber T*

      I was promoted earlier this year, but it had to officially wait til they hired my replacement. My old job included manning the front desk, so I got to meet some of the people interviewing for my position. One woman…

      – Had her rabbi call one of the partners (who was not part of the search, I doubt he even realized we were hiring) since they belonged to the same temple and “personally recommend” her. He was very confused.

      – Had her son tell another partner’s daughter (they went to school together, not sure if they were friends) that his mom was really looking forward to working with her dad (this partner had a say in whether or not she was hired, but would not be working directly with her).

      – Shook my hand on her way out after her final interview and said “I look forward to replacing you.”

      She was not hired.

      1. Artemesia*

        Somehow I am feeling a tick of empathy here. An inexperienced job seeker who is middle aged and trying to get into the labor force and knows that it is ‘who you know’ that is important and trying to do what she thinks the big players do. Sad.

    3. Library Director*

      We just interviewed someone. We’re very clear that primary communication is through email and not to call about the job before or after the interview. I’ll answer as many questions via email as the person needs. We just interviewed a young man. He personally knows one of the interviewers. His girlfriend called the interviewer to see when he would be hired. He was already at the bottom of the pile for a myriad of reasons.

  6. Evie*

    We had a retail store and an office component to our company. We were hiring for the office but had them go to the store down a floor to wait and someone went down and got them. The interview was fine, she seemed normal and we probably would have hired her. After she left the store person called up to tell us a story.

    The interviewee had come in and commented on the squeaky floors. The retail person said yeah it is an old building etc.. The interviewee then told her that her house was old and had creaky floors and “that’s why she didn’t let fat people come over.”


      1. KateHR*

        People don’t realize that people in offices talk, which is why you should always be nice to everyone you encounter. I trust our receptionist impression on a candidate then the owner of our company.

        1. Noah*

          Yes! If you ever interview with an airline, and are given a ticket to travel, staff will note in your reservation how you act and your appearance.

  7. Cara*

    My old building happened to be next to a Mosque and we were interviewing for an entry level admin position. One guy we interviewed (in his 40s or so) asked if we had ‘anything to do with THOSE people’ while rolling his eyes and tutting. No matter how we pulled the question set he’d bring everything back to religion and our proximity to the Mosque. When we mentioned our equal opps policy he acknowledged the importance of diversity and equality….

    1. MommaTRex*

      Did you thank him? Don’t we all wish candidates would be this open in interviews so we know we which resumes to round-file?

  8. Us, Too*

    I asked a software engineering candidate one time to explain how he approached a particularly difficult technical problem. He started to explain his understanding of the problem and then 5 seconds into his explanation, he paused, looked at me and said, “I could explain, but you probably wouldn’t understand.”

    1. Myrin*

      How did he think interviewing works? They’re putting together the most clueless people in the company and see which job candidate can best explain things to them?

      1. Dan*

        I’ve been interviewed who don’t necessarily understand my background (transferable skillset), and when I suspect that may be the case, I simply ask if they are familiar with those techniques. If they say no, then I uplevel the description with something they can grasp.

        I was once interviewed by someone who very much had a background in what I was doing. For 15 minutes, she kept saying she didn’t understand some nuanced part. It wasn’t that complicated, but I learned if I had to work with her, I’d kill my self. Good thing it was a day long interview and they have six different groups.

        1. SystemsLady*

          Oh how did we ever know. Bet he didn’t use th Dear God.

          We actually *hired* a temp like that (long, complicated story about what he actually was) who outright told us he thought our job was beneath him and that’s why he went for the job he had. Which was in no way above us – it was simply a position that organized things so they were ready for us.

          That’s a paraphrase that sounds worse than what he actually said, but the paraphrase sums up his overall behavior pretty well. Consistently proclaiming he knew enough about something to do it himself then doing it completely wrong, etc.

          He was brought into the president’s office and fired pretty quickly once my old boss (who liked him for some reason, which had nothing to do with his own personality I’m sure) quit and the new one started.

    2. SusanIvanova*


      I ask software interviewees about interesting problems they’ve had to solve, and as software’s a big field sometimes it’s areas I don’t know. So I’ve listened to answers that I didn’t understand, but I could tell that *they* did by the way they explained it, and that’s what I was looking for.

  9. H.C.*

    More amusing than straight out weird, but I had one where a project manager candidate proclaimed he’s natural leader and take charge type because he’s an Aries. (He mentioned this pretty early on too, so I was fairly distracted/nonplussed for the rest of the half-hour session.)

    1. Arjay*

      This one hit my funny bone. I’m going to try to work “As an Aries, I…” into conversations today. :)

    2. Security SemiPro*

      I had this! I asked a candidate why they believed they were qualified for a job and their answer was “Well, I’m a Virgo, so I’m detail oriented.”

      I had difficulty listening to the rest of their answers because I was so distracted trying to figure out how star sign was a qualified skill. And if belief that star sign could be a skill was an immediate disqualifier for a very logic/fact checking based position. (And what if their belief in astrology was strong enough to be considered religious? But then, declaring religious faith isn’t exactly a qualifying skill either, and still inappropriate for a job interview…)

      1. Serin*

        “Well, I’m a Virgo, so I’m detail oriented.”

        Ooh, that reminds me of the time I received a resume (for a position that required a fair amount of writing) that said the author was “detail-orientated.”

        1. H.C.*

          I know I’ve commented about this on AAM before – but this reminded me of a resume that said “Copy editor: 2011 – 2913”

          1. Creag an Tuire*

            Somewhere there’s a person facing a wall full of details and an immortal time-traveling copy-editor who are wondering why they never get call-backs.

            1. A*

              “an immortal time-traveling copy-editor who [is] wondering why they never get call-backs.”

              So THAT’S what The Doctor does when he’s not saving the universe…

        2. UKJo*

          Actually “orientated” is fine in Britain! I just double checked because I kept reading your post and wondering where the prob was. Of course, if they were American then your point stands :)

            1. Artemesia*

              Well I learned something. I have always assumed orientate, administrate and doctorial degree were all associated with the semi-literate.

      2. KateHR*

        I had someone tell me this too! And they also asked what my sign was and proceeded to tell me all about myself!!!!

      3. DJ*

        Honestly, I think it’s no less BS than saying “I’m a green so therefore I..” or “I’m an ENfP so I…” or any other nonsensical pop psychology junk.

    3. Karo*

      I have a work-friend that does this a lot, but not just with herself – she also projects it onto other people. Like “Oh, as a Cancer, you should do exactly what you said you were going to but with this tiny random tweak because emotions matter more to you.” And, yeah, emotions do matter to me, but so does logic. Because I’m a person.

      Pretty much every time that happens I have to walk away from the conversation.

      1. Kai*

        I have a coworker at my new job who says this kind of thing to me. It’s like, really? You’re surprised I’m a Virgo because I don’t exhibit every Virgo tendency?

        1. Cath in Canada*

          I once had a friend of a friend who barely even knew me insist that I must have got my own birthday wrong because there was no way I could possibly be an Aquarius. She went on and on about it. I just walked away in the end.

      2. AcademiaNut*

        You can avoid this by telling people that you were born under the sign of Ophiuchus the Serpent bearer…. Or, if you want, lecture them on the precession of the equinoxes until their eyes glaze over.

        I’m a bit sensitive on this point, having had more than one person ask me about my career in astrology.

        1. Kenji*

          I’m born on the dividing line between two signs, and I’ve learned a certain LOOK astrology fans get when they hear my birthday and light up with excitement…I’ve gotten very good at inwardly cringeing and then nodding through a lecture on what it means to be “on the CUSP of saggitarius”

        2. SpiderN0ises*

          I’ve done this. xD That would be a great star sign. And apparently the sun can be in Cetus in March? It’s such a cute constellation.

    4. AnotherAlison*

      Ah well, as a Leo married to a Sagitarrius, I do know that that is completely true. . .all the fire signs are natural born leaders. Ha ha ha.

    5. Bookworm*

      Was there any possibility he was kidding? I tend to assume people are joking when they say stuff like that.

      1. H.C.*

        My co-interviewer and I considered it, but the candidate ended his response with that line (rather than starting with it & then going “Haha, just kidding, but seriously – I have demonstrated initiative numerous times in my previous roles with examples XYZ…”)

        So yeah, even as a joke that was weird – since we have to cut the silence by moving onto another question or following up on that fascinating star sign tidbit.

      2. Security SemiPro*

        If there had been more of an answer, maybe? But it was the entire answer! Said in the same tone as “Well, as a 15 year college professor, I’m comfortable with speaking to groups.” Self evident, no more explanation needed.

    6. Camellia*

      I took a “fun” personality test one time and the results came out as “mantis shrimp”. When I read the description to my family, they pretty much agreed that…it was right on target. :)

      “Mantis shrimps sport powerful claws that are used to attack and kill prey by spearing, stunning, or dismemberment. In captivity, some larger species are capable of breaking through aquarium glass with a single strike.”

      1. Allons-y*

        Can you imagine using that result to describe yourself instead of a star sign?
        “Well, as a Mantis Shrimp, I don’t sit well in long meetings…”

    7. Ann Cognito*

      I asked a candidate one time to explain where they learned their ethics and values, one of a series of questions on that topic that we always asked at that organization, and she said “I’m a Virgo and so is my brother.” My co-worker, who was interviewing with me, wouldn’t look at me and I didn’t want to catch her eye either, but the second the candidate left the room at the end we fell around laughing, and never figured-out exactly what she meant.

      1. Ann Cognito*

        We did follow-up with here there and then, but her explanation made as much sense as the original response!

  10. ashleyh*

    I had a job where I hired a lot of teens at their first job. I got a lot of great stories from that, but my favorite was the teenager who got an interview because his family donated a lot of money to our organization. He showed up to his interview wearing a t-shirt that said “F*ck B*tches Get Paid” and said he was really looking for a job where he’d get paid a lot for doing as little work as possible

    1. AdAgencyChick*

      Oh my goodness. Did you have to hire him because the parents were donors? Please tell me this story ends with his parents knocking some sense into him…but I bet it doesn’t. :(

    2. Katie F*

      Well, hey, at least he was honest. So he had that going for him. He couldn’t have telegraphed it any better if he’d tattooed “I Will Be a Wretched Choice, Don’t Pick Me” to his forehead.

    3. EleanoraUK*

      Hahaha, no one told him this is not one of those situations where ‘at least I’m honest about it’ applies.

    4. Me2*

      Many years ago, I worked in HR at a large auto supply chain store, most of our hires were teenagers applying for their first or second job, usually in our parts department. I’ll never forget the applicant who had previous experience working at two different fast food companies and listed his supervisors as “Wendy” and “Jack.” No, those weren’t actual supervisor names.

    5. Naomi*

      I have to wonder if that guy was pushed into the interview by his parents and was deliberately trying to tank it so he wouldn’t be offered the job.

      1. AshleyH*

        Oh, 100%. My VP called our development director and said in no uncertain terms that unfortunately we could not hire the kid.

    6. Dan*

      While I actually share the same career goal as this guy, I have learned that discretion is the better part of valor.

    7. KR*

      I just had a new hire (teenager or early 20s) show up for her on-boarding process in a belly shirt. Thankfully we had some company shirts to give her before she went to HR and I gave her a quick low-down on the dress code. And no, it wasn’t her first job.

      1. JennyFair*

        We had to provide pictures of our hands for a project at work (which sounds about as effective and valuable as you are picturing right this moment) and I had one of my reports provide a shot done during one of her part-time modeling job shoots that was her bare midriff with her hands tucked into her jeans. Gorgeous, artsy pic…totally not work appropriate.

  11. Act*

    OH. And of course, our long list of ridiculous writing samples. Some favorites:

    – Some guy sent us porn. Little a story about him having sex.
    – The woman who sent us a paper on why witchcraft is real.
    – The guy who sent us his defense of the pedophile in Lolita.
    – Werewolf. Fanfic.

    Writing samples are the best.

    1. Myrin*

      What kind of job did you hire for, if I may ask? Something related to creative writing? Because if not, if it’s about e. g. scientific writing, these samples or even more off-base!

      (I mean, I love me some werewolf fanfic but not in the workplace!)

      1. Act*

        Marketing writing. We basically did a dance whenever we got writing samples that were even mildly relevant. Never change, people who send in writing samples, never change.

        1. De Minimis*

          We require all candidates to do a writing sample, regardless of the job [org is a non-profit involved in education.] I would love to see some werewolf fanfic, most of the ones I’ve seen are just job related essay questions.

          1. Act*

            We had a dramatic reading. It was great.

            That said, the boring ones tend to be more helpful for hiring.

    2. Tris Prior*

      When I was working for a newspaper, we had a reporter candidate send in explicit poetry as her writing sample….

      Just, no.

      1. Nanc*

        Oh gosh the “Poetry” samples! We writing for technology firms and never once has a client asked us for a white paper in iambic pentameter or free verse! (I hope I didn’t just jinx myself because we currently have no poet on staff).

      2. YankeeNonprofitChick*

        I’m a poet who has always had a “day job,” first as a journalist, then in PR, now in fundraising. I would never have sent a poem as a writing sample for any position. I was actually quite closeted as a poet until I realized if you googled me most of the results were poetry-related. So I started mentioning it in job interviews, briefly. I had one interviewer ask me if I were able to be organized (because poets are flakes???). At another position, I was put in charge of a data conversion and I joked, who thought it was a good idea to put the poet in charge of the database?

        1. Amber T*

          My college offered a scholarship for math and science (and once upon a time, I thought I was going to be a math major). You had to write an essay about how math/science interested you, or what you liked about it, I don’t quite remember at this point. I wrote a poem. I did not get the scholarship.

          (My first day of calc, the professor was taking attendance, got to my name, looked at me, and said “you’re the poet?” I was embarrassed and friends have not let me live that down since.)

            1. RhysasaurusRex*

              My college essay was a 1 act play of me doing a dramatic poetry reading.

              My highschool later used it in an example packet of how to write awesome admission essays. Not sure what they were thinking.

              (to be fair, I was accepted to my first choice).

              1. Marillenbaum*

                As someone who used to work in college admissions, that’s pretty cool! I wouldn’t recommend it for most people, because it’s easy to do wrong, but if you have confidence and skill as a writer–HECK YES! It makes reading all those applications a little less soul-crushing.

    3. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

      I am so, so disappointed that in my years of hiring writers, I have never received anything like this :(

      The only non-work samples I get are boring school papers.

    4. Anon Moose*

      Oh, I should have read the comments before posting. We had an in depth writing sample analyzing video games like Mario and Legend of Zelda at my nonprofit. Not as disqualifying but still.

        1. Artemesia*

          I used to read college applications; the most memorable was the first person account of his birth offered by one candidate.

      1. Act*

        This isn’t odd to me…? If the only work the candidate had was scholarly and it was a strongly constructed paper, whether the subject matter was traditionally highbrow enough is a weird quibble.

        1. Anon Moose*

          It was not the only work the candidate had done from their resume, and it was unfortunately badly edited. It was also just not a good match to the job which was writing in the legal field. I didn’t actually nix it (I actually read it with some interest) but my boss did. She frowns on academic writing samples for this job anyway, since they aren’t that helpful.

    5. Lemon Zinger*

      Amazing. I may have gone to college with the Lolita guy. “It’s a beautiful love story!’

      1. Liane*

        I need to text one of my references and make sure he isn’t going to answer, “She’s very detail oriented, and her proofreading skills greatly improved the quality of my Star Wars fanfics,” when asked about my work quality.
        Wait, I don’t need to bother–he has more sense.

        But it is true!

        1. Amber T*

          Writing fanfic is awesome and has definitely improved my writing skills. That being said… I don’t particularly want my employer or coworkers reading any of my stuff.

    6. blushing anonymous*

      I was one of those people!! right out of college, a local weekly newspaper was hiring…. I don’t even remember… a restaurant reviewer or something? they asked for three writing samples. I sent them:

      1. a college paper — maybe my senior project about the affects of panopticism on gender roles in the railway children
      2. one of my BEST Poems
      3. a paper on some french novel (I don’t remember which) written for a French Lit class. IN FRENCH

      I hope they got a good laugh at least…

      1. Buffay the Vampire Layer*

        The writing sample in French might actually be my favorite story of the day.

    7. lindsay*

      We just hired a business manager and one of the candidates brought in a list of her poetry publications. The only relevant part was the offhand comment about writing a business plan for expanding her publications/writing.

    8. Carpe Librarium*

      Now I kinda want to apply for jobs that require writing samples. I’d send a couple of suitable items, then include a short fun one with a note that it’s just to amuse the sample-reader if they need a break from the applications.

  12. burnout*

    I had an interviewee who was late to her interview. At about the 15 minute mark, 2 of my staff came into my office to tell me that they saw a woman in the ladies’ room washing her hair in the sink. As in, head under the faucet, shampoo on the counter washing her hair. They thought it might be my interviewee. Sure enough, it was. She arrived for her interview looking like a drowned rat with soaking wet hair, her shirt and shoulders wet. She had hair dye stains on her hands and kept asking over and over again if we were “in the cloud.” She did not get hired.

    1. Hermione*

      As someone who found her first grey hair this week, I have to say I’m sympathetic, yet also bewildered.

      1. Gandalf the Nude*

        I’m sure I will get some eye rolls for this, but I was honestly delighted when I found my first gray hair. I actually thought it was tinsel at first, but then I was like, “Why would there be tinsel in my hair in February?” I’m hoping it will age me up a bit, so colleagues will stop treating me so young.

        1. Jennie*

          I work in children’s programming and often come home to find feathers, glitter, and other stray things in my hair – so I also thought my first grey hairs were craft supplies! And I loved how they looked so sparkly that I have just been letting them grow in and join the party

        2. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I found my first gray hair on my fortieth birthday. I was washing my hands in the restroom at work, and when I glanced up at the mirror, I saw something very shiny and silvery sticking right straight up at the front and center of the hairline. That was when I knew I was old.

          1. Afiendishthingy*

            Huh. I’m 32 and have very noticeable white streaks, or at least I did before I started dyeing my hair cherry red.

            1. KAG*

              I find that frustrating. I worked HARD for my gray hairs (started appearing after trauma at 27), but I also like to dye my hair and, well, don’t have the patience (or the $$) to do the one-strand-at-a-time.

      2. Kate*

        Haha! I found my first gray hair in the eighth grade. Now that I’m in my mid-30’s, I’m getting a pretty well defined gray streak. One of my hair stylists told me it was cool like Rogue’s, so yeah, totally not stressing about that anymore :)

        1. Elizabeth*

          I suppose that is better than what I call mine: the skunk stripe. (I’m seriously debating highlights to hide this stuff…)

          1. Landshark*

            My dad called his gray streaks that pretty much up until he had more gray than black, so you’re not alone.

            My mom was a teacher and just named gray hairs after problem students (as a joke at home, not as an insult to the students). Streaks were named after big problems or full classes… and one was named after me, even though I wasn’t TOO bad… just because I was a stubborn butt sometimes.

        2. entrylevelsomething*

          Those gray streaks are so cool, especially paired with dark hair. My hair is dishwater blonde so eventually I guess it’s just going to get gradually paler. Boring.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            You can do highlights to jazz it up a bit. I got so tired of touching up grey on dark auburn every two weeks (my natural color is a light reddish-brown) that I went blonde. And I am LOVING IT. Although they have to be done in my salon, I can put off touch-ups now to four or five weeks, and it’s just so different. When I curl my hair now, I feel like a celebrity. :)

          2. 42*

            I have one of those too, right above my forehead and I call it my Religious Experience. Kinda like C. Heston after he came down from Mt Sinai in The Ten Commandments..

          3. Phyllis B*

            Yeah, I am a natural blonde who turned into dishwater blonde which turned into….blech. So I became a red-hair. I can’t wait until it’s completely silver/white. But knowing my family history, I don’t know. When my grand-mother died at 85 her hair was black with just a dusting of grey. ( I do have a white streak, but it seems like I can’t seem to style my hair where it shows. So I just cover it with color.)

    2. Bee Eye LL*

      I had an interviewee once use the bathroom before the interview. Not a big deal except he barely dried his hands so when he came in to interview, I got a big wet sloppy handshake from him. Not very appealing at all.

    3. Anon Moose*

      Sigh. I’m hoping it was not because the candidate was homeless or did not have access to a shower.

      1. Chinook*

        My first thought was possibly a poorly timed bird dropping. But, “in the cloud” would have been a deal breaker.

        1. Karo*

          But the shampoo! Like, did she get hit then run to the drug store to get shampoo and come in? If yes, couldn’t she have bought bottled water at the drug store and washed it in the parking lot?

          1. Mel*

            Or you know, in the drug store bathroom…or pretty much anywhere BUT the potential employers bathroom. LOL

      2. SystemsLady*

        The hair dye bit is what gets me/makes me think that thankfully wasn’t it.

        Maybe accidental hair bleaching or stressing about a grey?? Even then they make cover sticks (at least if the former was isolated)…

        1. burnout*

          She wasn’t homeless. She came very HIGHLY recommended from a known source, and I had done a phone interview that she totally aced. I was super excited to have her come meet in person. Then….. this. It was really weird. My interview partner and I kept giving each other the “side eye”. And she didn’t try to explain the wet hair either. I would have thought maybe a “I got something in my hair on the way in,” or… “I just came from the gym”…. I don’t know. It was really bizarre.

          I remember telling my staff who came into the office, “I don’t think I want to know that the person I may interview was washing her hair in the sink…… that gives me information I should judge her on.” And their reply was, “But… you’re going to wonder why she’s WET.” LOL

          1. AnotherAlison*

            See. . .there was a story behind my drug comment above. ~15 years ago, my SO hired a woman for a admin job who had a fantastic resume and interviewed well. He had to fire her the first week for bizarre behavior. I don’t remember any of the specifics, but it became obvious that she was on meth. She had previously held mid-level positions at Sprint and couldn’t get by in an admin job at a <10 person maintenance company. People change. . .

          2. stevenz*

            I could be wrong but I don’t think that “people who wash their hair in the restroom sink before an interview” are a protected class under EEOC regulations. So you would be OK using that information in your hiring decision. (It’s the cloud thing that’s got me… Maybe she got shampoo in her eyes and … Oh, never mind.)

      3. Polka Dot Bird*

        But even if she were homeless, and the only possible place she could wash her hair was in that specific bathroom, she still way too late for an interview. Over 15 minutes!

  13. MindoverMoneyChick*

    We had a guy who had interviewed pretty well and at the end of the interviewed we showed him around the office and introduced him to some of the employees. He met one woman he found attractive and started making sexually suggestive statements to her in front of the interviewer and the 3 other people she shared an office with.

    Yeah, he did not get invited back.

    1. Hermione*

      Well, I suppose it’s a good thing he showed his colors BEFORE you hired him, but honestly, yuck.

    2. AndersonDarling*

      Ick, Ick, Ick!!! You have to wonder about people like that. Does he know he didn’t get the job because of the sexual comments? Or is he thinking he was just overqualified, too cool for that job? Wowsers.

    3. Gandalf the Nude*

      I hope someone called him out on it. Letting folks get away with that sort of behavior reinforces it.

    4. MindoverMoneyChick*

      Actually, yes he did get called out. He was interviewed first one on one with vice-president A outside of the office. She liked him and passed him on to vice-president B and a couple of us managers for a full interview in the office.

      We were actually planning to hire him up until the point he pulled that crap. Vice-president A did call him and tell him he did not get the job and explained why. Apparently he took it fairly well and said he understood, which was surprising. And yes we dodged a bullet.

      1. Blue Anne*

        I’m really glad it was explained to him, and I hope he spent a long time kicking himself.

    5. MindoverMoneyChick*

      As a side note, it probably shouldn’t matter, but probably it did – both vice-presidents were women and partners in the company. They did not put up with sexiest crap in the office or make any of us put up with it.

  14. Bend & Snap*

    The candidate who kept telling our receptionist she was returning my call to get around our screening, when I hadn’t called her.

    And the candidate who, when asked to tell us why we should hire her for media relations, told me and my manager she’d “pitch her ass off” for us and also asked if she could take half days during the summer, revolving around the Red Sox home schedule, because she worked at a t-shirt shop near Fenway park and was needed for games.

    1. Amber T*

      As a former receptionist I HATED when people did that. I don’t think I ever got that with potential job people, but we got it with sales people all the time. Once I got confirmation that it was indeed a salesperson and not someone anyone wanted to talk to, I liked to play dumb and toy with them. “Oh you’re looking for HR? Hmmm… I don’t think I know who our HR person is…” “Oh you’re selling printers? How do you spell that, p… r… i…” If I could make the salesperson hang up on me it was a job well done.

      (I only did this with super snobby salespeople, not decent ones who were just trying to do their job without being asshats)

      1. Noah*

        The worst are the ones you send to voicemail and then they press zero to I guess see if someone else will answer.

  15. Big10Professor*

    More weird than bad, but I once got a candidate resume that said his interests were “church, dancing, and honey mustard.”

    1. SJ*

      we had a candidate resume with an interests section, and his first listed interest was “people.” Maybe it was due to a lack of sleep or something, but our head of HR and I had been going through the resumes and we just about died laughing.

        1. HYDR*

          We were interviewing dean candidates for a graduate school, and one guy listed his interests as ‘driving through backroads’ in some obscure country. During his interview, he asked if we had many foreign alums (we have a few, but not enough to warrant a trip on our dime for him to go overseas!). We saw through his technique.

        2. Anonymouse*

          Barbershop quartets are actually huge. There’s actually a Barbershop Harmony Society that has an international championship and they hold an international convention that has several thousand attendees.

          1. Taft's Bathtub*

            Don’t forget the ladies! There’s at least two international barbershop organizations for women as well. It probably does sound funny to people who didn’t realize that barbershop choruses and quartets are officially A Thing.

      1. anonforthis*

        Listed in the “interests” section of a managerial candidate’s resume: “shitting.” Candidate called us shortly after applying, apologizing up one side and down the other because he’d just realized that his teenage son had made an unauthorized edit to his resume.

          1. Mookie*

            Seriously, I pity anyone who doesn’t or can’t enjoy it thoroughly. One of life’s pleasures.

        1. Josh S*

          This guy would have absolutely had my utter sympathy and I would have absolutely forgiven him…asked him to submit a corrected resume for the files, but absolutely forgiven him.

          I lol’d

      2. Tinkerer*

        My best one was “hammocks”! No context, no explanation of any kind – just hammocks!

    2. all aboard the anon train*

      One of my friends listed “drinking” as an interest on his resume, and when he kept complaining about not getting an callbacks for jobs and asked me and another friend to look at his resume, we told him that no one was going to take him seriously if he put alcohol as an interest on a resume.

      1. GertietheDino*

        I had a job where I helped my boss screen resumes for a sales position. If their social media listed their interests/pictures as partying, drinking, drugs whatever, they were tossed in the NO pile. Make your profile private people!

        1. Blue Anne*

          When I was an admin at a tech company, one of my jobs was gatekeeping against the many unsolicited calls from recruiters. If I thought someone was a recruiter but I wasn’t sure, I would google them.

          It’s amazing how many times I’ve gotten to say “Hey, nice shirtless pic” on the work phone. 100% young men who were less than a year out of college.

      2. INTP*

        Actually, we had a client who I probably would have considered that a plus for, though I would have deleted it from the resume before showing them. There was a beer excursion during the interview process, beer in the office, Mandatory Fun trips to Vegas, etc. They definitely would have preferred an over-drinking employee over a non-drinking one.

        1. all aboard the anon train*

          I admit, I always wonder how this plays out in startups or offices where there’s such a focus on drinking at or after work, especially for people who don’t drink for personal or religious reasons.

          1. alter_ego*

            It’s not quite a startup, but there’s a pretty heavy drinking culture in my office of about 45 people. I don’t drink, at all, for any reason. Mostly I just go along, and drink orange juice or whatever. There’s definitely stuff I don’t get invited to, but for the most part, I don’t think it’s affected my career, at least not any more than my being the only woman has.

          2. INTP*

            In this case, the company was very conformist and chose employees like they were choosing pledges for a fraternity. I really don’t think a non-drinker would do well there unless they were VERY bro-ish in every other way.

            I’m sure there are other companies, though, where most people drink heavily with coworkers, but they’re relaxed about people who choose not to drink. Of course, some of us find it pretty annoying to be around drunk people when not drinking, so it could make it difficult to attend all the social events even if you’re not penalized for not drinking at them.

      3. Windchime*

        We had a candidate who was so nervous that he was sweating and trembling. His cell phone kept ringing and he couldn’t figure out how to turn it off. And then he mentioned that his hobbies were drinking wine and collecting guns. I voted “No” on hiring him because he was also super creepy. I was outvoted, he was hired. He lasted 6 months, I think.

      4. bridget*

        I’ve seen a fair bit of “craft beer,” “wine collecting,” and “[specific county in Kentucky] bourbon.” Those don’t give me much pause. This sounds a lot closer to just straight up “getting hammered.”

        Also to the mustard comment above, I have also seen “guacamole” listed as an interest. Law students are scrambling to make themselves seem quirky and interesting, especially the marathon/rock climbing/international travel interests section became too much of a cliche.

        1. Marillenbaum*

          Yeah, listing craft beer or wine collecting seems more…legitimate, somehow. Like you have a hobby, instead of an addiction.

          1. Library Director*

            Yes. I’m working on getting my certification as an Italian wine judge. Still thinking I wouldn’t put it on my resume as an interest. Maybe translate it to Italian Culture and History?

            1. Sincaru*

              Italian wine judge? Just curious, do you mind sharing which association are you part of (AIS, FIS, FISAR, ONAV, ASPI)?

                1. Sincaru*

                  Oh, cool! I see it is in collaboration with WSA (which is founded by the same people who founded AIS, which is the most recognized in Italy and by which I am certified). My diploma took a year (46 classes x 2,5 hours) and a two-day exam. Your course sounds fun, I am always glad when people take time to learn about my country’s wine, the best in the world IMO! Best of luck.

                2. Sincaru*

                  Sorry, just saw that certification is WSA but it was designed in conjunction with AIS – so yes, my colleagues!

        2. DMented Kitty*

          “I’m not just chugging beer! I’m sampling a flight of gluten-free German lagers with a French wine pairing — it’s called a smorgasvein and it’s elegantly cultural!”

      5. anon in the uk*

        As a teen I made a resume for the family cat, whose interests included sleeping, climbing trees and shouting at other cats. As far as I know neither of ny parents sent it off as theirs.

        1. DMented Kitty*

          I am seriously tempted to submit a resume for my cat. She either has a career at Kinko’s because she likes to hit the “Start/Copy” button on our printer, or a job at the drug testing facility since she likes to watch people pee then disappears right after you’re done.

    3. SophieChotek*

      Having gone to a conservative Christian undergrad that explicitly forbade dancing, drinking, sex, or card-playing (we had to sign papers saying we would not do any of these things)…apparently the church was not as conservative as the one that my undergrad college was affiliated with…

      1. Chinook*

        Considering that I can’t plan our semi-annual Church Lady gatherings without the guarantee of two types of wine and that I once knew a priest who pulled out his credit card at an (over 18) youth group gathering and said “the next round’s on God,” I feel confident in saying that different churches have very different views on the use of alcohol.

          1. Chinook*

            It was a Catholic college with a men’s residence and it was a gold card because the priests all took vows of poverty, so their university salaries went to the order to cover their expenses. The priest who ordered this was the College President! He also opened up the spare rooms to any females who joined them in the college sports teams’ annual “Drink a Small Town Dry” event.

            It always shocked me how so many alumni convinced their wives that sending their sons to this college would mean they were going to live a quiet, studious campus life because they were being supervised by priests.

            1. OpheliaInWaders*

              LOL, having attended a Jesuit university, I would like to confirm that the parents’ expectations were misplaced.

              1. Mander*

                Hah. As an innocent little (Protestant, of the variety that accepts beer with football but looks askance at anything else) 18 year old I once did an overnight campus visit at a Jesuit university. The girls I stayed with were supposed to show me around campus, talk to me about student life, and make sure I got to the events the next day.

                Instead they took me to the pool hall that was pretty lax about under age drinking, got me rather drunk, and sent me off to the events with an aspirin and a coffee.

        1. Blue Anne*

          I will join any church where “The next round’s on God” is an accepted practice.

          That said, my Grandma’s church just had to fire their pastor for buying a segway out of church funds, so maybe not…

          1. junipergreen*

            Gives new meaning to the phrase “holy rollers.”
            … I’ll see myself out now.

        2. Blackout*

          At my church’s group for young adults we take turns bringing in refreshments. Alcoholic beverages are frequently a part of the refreshment selection. My favorite was the week that someone brought in Sweet Baby Jesus beer for everyone.

        3. zora.dee*

          Agree. I worked for a Catholic priest who super loved his bourbon. I didn’t even drink at the time, so I never got to take advantage of the rounds he bought for staff, darnit!

        4. AliceBD*

          I feel bad because my church’s 20s and 30s group isn’t going to one cool location because they only have alcohol (no food) and I can’t drink (medical reasons). We discussed this location while at a local craft brewery eating amazing pub food and the rest of the group having 2 or 3 drinks each. I do assume there will be alcohol at basically every evening church event for adults. (I’m Episcopalian.)

        5. Library Director*

          Oh, yes. I grew up in a faith tradition where girls didn’t wear pants, no dancing, and you never drank in public. When I joined the Army and became a chaplain’s assistant I was stationed in Germany. I almost passed out when the priest asked if I liked wine (ummmm, uh, why). Because Germany has great wine. It was one of my first conversion steps :-D .

            1. Library Director*

              Considering the number of unwed teens in this hyper conservative church it might be the same. Genes but no jeans. ;-)

        6. BananaPants*

          Our Lutheran church holds a wine tasting dinner twice a year. Lutherans are often of German or Scandinavian background and are beer fans, too.

          I’m a craft beer enthusiast, but I wouldn’t put it on a resume.

      2. The Expendable Redshirt*

        I know of a church where the pastor invites people to visit the nearby Irish Pub after service. Half price appetisers!

    4. INTP*

      Actually, I kind of respect that more than people who list a million good-on-paper interests that you know they don’t have time to do ALL of on a regular basis. “My interests are Ironman Triathlons, reading to the blind, coding all my own iPhone apps, and weekend trips to Buenos Aires.”

      1. Windchime*

        Oh, no kidding. That reads like a ad. As if people could do all these things and still have time for work, laundry, grocery shopping, etc.

        1. INTP*

          It reminds me of a story a supervising professor told me in grad school. When she started her Ph.D. program, in a class they had to go around sharing their names and some of their interests. All the classmates were listing classic or esoteric authors they enjoyed reading and other academia-friendly interests. When it got to her, she said “I really like TV. My favorite is Law and Order SVU.” It turned out that the professor was a big SVU fan as well and they got into a great conversation about it. It’s a nice reminder that most of us are doing pretty normal, unprestigious things during our downtime no matter our day jobs, and being honest about it can provide an opportunity for connection that’s more valuable than impressing someone with your perfectly curated list of hobbies.

          1. Marillenbaum*

            Exactly! I consider my TV-watching a legitimate hobby, and I will gladly talk to you at length and in depth about what I’m watching on Netflix.

              1. Marillenbaum*

                I’m currently OBSESSED with “Stranger Things”, and I’m rewatching Gilmore Girls in preparation for the new episodes in November.

          2. Rebecca in Dallas*

            Haha something similar happened to my sister. She started her PhD program in poetry and the professor had them go around and talk about what they had read over the summer. She answered “The Twilight Series.”

        2. Just Another Techie*

          Enh. If you’re a two-income, no-kids family and can afford a housekeeper and laundry service, it’s not that hard to have ridiculous hobbies. I’m a semi-serious aerial acrobat in my spare time and spend around 10-15 hours a week training, not to mention time spent going to circus shows to see what other artists are doing, volunteer work through my church, a weekly book group, and a weekly knitting group. I do eat a lot of frozen dinners though :)

            1. Elle*

              I would hire someone to do the grocery shopping…I recently discovered that the local Giant Eagle has online ordering, and for $5, I order my stuff online, and then to go pick it up. I really love it!

              1. Elizabeth West*

                Exjob used to do that at Sam’s Club for our break room supplies–Click and Pick. I would order it and then go get it the next day. Eventually, I learned where everything was and could gather it myself and check out faster than standing in the Click and Pick line.

                I would love to have my home stuff delivered from a store, like back in the day. :)

                1. Yet Another JD*

                  Is Amazon Prime Now available near you, Elizabeth? It’s pretty darned good with getting groceries to one’s door.

              2. Amber T*

                I’ve become obsessed with FreshDirect and Peapod (Stop&Shop) where you order it online and they DELIVER IT TO YOU. Seriously they just bring up all the bags and put it right in your kitchen. FD is only located in Southern NY (I think), but I know Stop&Shop is around further. If you have any big major grocery chains they might offer the same thing.

                1. Security SemiPro*

                  When I was super sick and my husband was working full time and in school, Peapod delivery is how we ate. Its miraculous.

                  We now pick up our weekly grocery order, but it saves so much time over actually shopping. And makes sure you stick to your list rather than browsing random stuff. We end up grabbing produce on a mid week run, but general shopping is dropped in the car trunk Friday afternoon.

                2. Artemesia*

                  We are old and live in a building with a lot of people who are older and Peapod is what keeps many of the elderly around us more or less independent. We walk to the grocery store half a mile away and lug stuff home but we are heartened by the fact that Peapod will be there for us when we need it. And Amazon prime — we will never need to leave the building.

              3. Mander*

                Wow, what? You have to go pick it up?

                I have clearly lived on the UK too long. Almost every grocery chain here does delivery. I didn’t realize this hadn’t come to America yet.

            1. A Non*

              Aerial acrobat here. It is pretty damn cool. It’s also not any more esoteric than finding the nearest place that offers lessons and signing up. Circus is undergoing a huge revival right now, and is no longer something you have to be born into. The school I attend teaches hundreds of adult beginners across all the circus disciplines, aerials included. (You do still kind of have to get into it as a kid, or into a similar discipline like dance or gymnastics, if you want to do it professionally. But that’s different.)

      2. Artemesia*

        Like politicians who once spent a weekend, or even a summer, on their grandfather’s estate and like to talk about their farm work background; or who interned at a company doing office work before their Harvard MBA and talk about how they worked their way up from the Secretarial Pool to CEO; or who spent one Friday night at a soup kitchen for their fraternity and stress the volunteer work they have done — each of these with pictures.

      1. ggg*

        Entire resume (for an intern position, but still):

        Ivy League School
        Interests: Football, video games and working out

        You need more interesting interests, kid.

  16. Seal*

    I’ve had 2 candidates sit and spin on their swivel chairs during their one-on-one interviews with me (well, not so much spin all the way around as swivel from side to side while looking at the ceiling). Made it very hard to establish eye contact.

    We had a candidate for a department head job come in dressed like she was going clubbing – low cut dress, spiked heels, over the top makeup and jewelry. That look does not scream librarian applying for a middle management position at an academic library.

    Had another candidate come in wearing an otherwise appropriate outfit with Birkenstock sandals. In December. With no socks. It’s fine not to wear heels, but ballet flats would have been FAR more appropriate. I spent so much time wondering if her feet were cold that I missed most of her presentation.

    1. animaniactoo*

      That last candidate might have been my godmother. Who tends to run hot all the time. No, her feet are not cold and she doesn’t mind if you ask – once.

      1. KR*

        I’m a short person and sometimes I can’t reach in swivel chairs so I end up spinning whether I like it or not! Get some not-swivel chairs – they take the travel out of the interview.

    2. JB (not in Houston)*

      Because I have Raynaud’s, and therefore my feet would have been in agony in her situation, I also would not have been able to pay attention. Objectively, I know that if she is choosing to wear those kinds of shoes in winter, she’s probably not cold. But I still would have been distracted.

    3. mskyle*

      Speaking of chairs, when I used to hire student workers at a university library I had a young man scoot up to the main desk on one of the rolling computer chairs to ask for an application (and this was not a short distance… he covered many yards and had to go around other tables/chairs/people). Great first impression with the hiring manager, doofus! I don’t remember whether he ever actually submitted the application, but I know I made a note of his name so I could put in on the bottom of the pile in case he did.

      1. Seal*

        Normally I’d agree with you, except it was December and the temperature was in the teens. If you must wear sandals when it’s that cold, socks would be expected.

        1. Perse's Mom*

          Eh, not really. Born and raised in Wisconsin; I could wear sandals year-round. Unless it’s a polar vortex situation, the temps don’t bother my feet. I only regret sandals if the weather turns foul, because wet sandals can get slippery.

          That said, the typical Birkenstock sandal is at flip-flop levels of non-formal footwear.

      2. Rana*

        I consider Birkenstocks to be the exception to that rule. They even make socks that are specifically meant to be worn with them.

    4. Library Director*

      Did you interview my husband? He wears Birkies year round. No socks. He did break down and wear socks with his Birkies (in suit and tie) when he defended his thesis. This May he attempted to wear real shoes in his suit while manning first aid stations in Rome. The team told him to stop and wear his Birkies (with socks). Granted these are people who know him and it’s expected.

  17. Anonymouse*

    While working in HR, I had a gentleman come to my desk and request an application.

    After I explained that we did not have applications and he could apply from our website, but before I could offer him the use of one of our computers, he stormed out the door.

    About five minutes later, one of the security guards came and asked if we had just had a visitor. It turned out that after leaving our office, this person had been so mad about not being able to get a paper application that he peed all over our elevator. The elevator only went to one floor, which means somehow he managed to pee, finish, and zip back up before the elevator reached the bottom floor.

    They had to shut the elevator down for two days to decontaminate it because the pee had gotten behind the buttons.

    To cap it all off, in the middle of the security guard telling us this, the candidate went to the front desk of the building to complain about me, resulting in the front desk calling to lecture me about being polite.

          1. Anonymouse*

            This is very paraphrased because the conversation has been a few years:
            PBX: “I have a gentleman here who says he tried to apply for a job and you were very rude to him.”
            Me: “He peed in the elevator!”
            PBX: “Well, he says you were rude to him!”
            Me: “But he peed in the elevator! Please hold him there!”
            PBX: “That’s not my problem. I’ve given him (boss’) number. Thank you.”

    1. RVA Cat*

      Please, please tell me the Whizzer was arrested and charged with something – public urination, vandalism….

      1. Anonymouse*

        No. They actually took his complaint seriously and felt I was partially at fault because I was “rude”. I should point out that I’m pretty sure I wasn’t rude.

        Yes, it makes as much sense as it sounds.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          I wonder how rude you have to be for people to decide peeing all over the elevator is an appropriate response.

    2. LBK*

      WTF is wrong with people? Seriously, I cannot imagine what goes on in someone’s head that leads them to this kind of action.

    3. Annoying Girl*

      Of course his behavior was outrageous but be careful. I seem to recall that some states require that you have paper applications available.

    4. pope suburban*

      We had a client poo on our bathroom floor once, because she was angry that we wouldn’t stay open way past close of business and carry her presumably-expensive wine to her car for her– which I told her we are expressly forbidden to do, because of the liability, when she called the front desk from inside the building like it was a horror movie (and, you know, it kind of was). Thankfully, she left on her own initiative while my coworker and I were locked in the boss’s office, making the most awkward phone call ever to see what he wanted to do (He was on the road at the time). Which should have been the end of it, but no, she tried to sneak back into the building through the locked side door, forcing us to wait her out and call for reinforcements. She sounded and appeared to be lucid and not high or ill, I guess she was just vindictive? I wonder if she and the Whizzer are friends.

      1. Anonymouse*

        I guess I’m lucky I only pee-angered him. I think if I poop-angered him, I might have left that job a lot sooner.

        1. pope suburban*

          Hey, I’m just relieved for both of us that they did it well away from our desks. I’d like to think that someone eliminating in front of you would be cause to quit and still get unemployment.

      2. Mallory Janis Ian*

        What I wonder is if these pee-angry and poop-angry people are able to pee or poop on command whenever they are angered, or if they just got lucky and happened to have a supply at the particular time when the anger occurred. Like, can one be perpetually prepared in case of being angry enough to pee or poop?

        1. pope suburban*

          I have to figure it’s a spur of the moment thing, and so only happens when they have the, uh, ammunition handy. I can’t imagine holding it for who knows how long in case someone angers you. Although I can’t imagine using anything other than a toilet (or bedpan, in the worst-case scenario) for elimination, so clearly I am not the best person to try to find insight into these people. :’D

          1. Mr. Mike*

            This is likely a behavior that happens more often, so, in response to Mallory, this person probably ‘held’ onto the ammunition in order to ‘deal’ with the rejection.

    5. MashaKasha*

      He PEED ON THE BUTTONS. While going down one floor!

      I’m impressed. This skill has to be in demand somewhere. Nowhere that I’ve worked, mind you, but somewhere.

      1. OhNo*

        I think the real question is which came first: him peeing on the buttons, or him pressing the button for his floor?

        You’d think there would be a logical progression here, but given that he peed in the elevator I doubt logic has much stake in this guy’s thought process.

        1. Anonymouse*

          I feel like he had to have peed and then touched the buttons because he was buttoned and zipped when he got off on the security footage.

            1. Alice Ulf*

              I just bark-laughed loud enough to echo. Thank goodness I’m the only one in this office during lunch. XD

  18. Name(Required)*

    I work for a rather well known magazine company and while hiring for a creative position one applicant asked to take a selfie with me for her instagram(I declined). After she left found her instagram, it was full of obnoxious selfies, a lot of alcohol, trespassing and harassing wildlife- the most resent was a picture of her getting ready for her interview in her mesh bra with our magazine name hashtagged below.

    1. ElectricTeapots*

      “It” being applied for a job and completely ignored all codes of business conduct. Hope the ‘gram was worth it!

  19. Master Bean Counter*

    Were we taking applications for an IT person. A person who would do everything from desk top installs to security protocols to server maintenance. We got lots of applications for the position. One gentleman called and asked to speak to the hiring person. I took the call. He told me that he was older than our average candidate had back problems and couldn’t bend to get under desks. He also couldn’t lift more than 20 pounds. He then went on to say that if we should hire him because he was the most qualified person and if we didn’t he would file a complaint for age discrimination.
    The real kicker, he didn’t have any experience other than building computers from spare parts in his home. we never invited him for the interview.
    One guy we did interview showed up in sweatpants, a t-shirt, and a flannel hoodie.

    1. Development Professional*

      I’m curious – did your job posting list the requirement to lift 20 lbs and climb under desks?

      1. Bee Eye LL*

        Most IT jobs relating to desktop support do have weight lifting limits and such because we do have to lug around PC’s and especially printers, which can be crazy heavy. A lot of people don’t realize the physical requirements of the job, which can involve climbing ladders, getting up in attics to run network cables, and so on.

        1. KR*

          +1 My grandboss expects me and my boss to wear business casual – I work slacks and heels Monday and ended up on a gravel construction site and cut my feet up and got my slacks all dusty. Black/Grey jeans and sneakers for the rest of the week for meeeeeee.

          1. Bee Eye LL*

            Been there done that. At my current work we wear jeans because we so often have to crawl around over, under, and through stuff. We only dress up when doing presentations, going to class, etc.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            I had to wear business casual at Exjob–and I often had to go out into the shop to fetch samples, boxes, literature, etc. I got dirty a LOT. It used to bug the crap out of me. We all would beg to wear jeans and polos, but they wouldn’t let us.

            1. Rana*

              Sounds like the retail job I had one summer as a teen. I was hired as a stockroom clerk – so lots of lifting, opening boxes, wrangling hangers, etc. – and most of the people who did that job tended to wear t-shirts and jeans, because no one ever saw them. But because I was young and female, they wanted me available to sub in with the dressing room staff, and thus be floor-presentable, which meant I was often doing that work in skirts, heels, and nylons. I ripped so many nylons that summer, it was unreal.

        2. Development Professional*

          I totally get that. I was wondering if it had been spelled out in the job posting, which I believe is required under ADA.

  20. animaniactoo*

    There was the guy who showed up to do a practice job wearing basketball shorts and an athletic top. Because he was on his way to the gym afterwards..

    We’re casual, but we’re not *that* casual… Nothing he would have seen during the first round of interviews would have given him the impression we are. It put my boss off enough that she went back to the pool to find someone else.

    1. ElectricTeapots*

      I once had a guy show up to an interview in gym clothes *post* workout. It was really easy to tell he had worked up a sweat, especially in the teeny tiny interview room…

      (This was an on-campus interview, but I’d been doing them all day and all the other students had figured out business casual just fine, so he had no excuse.)

      1. entrylevelsomething*

        When I applied for a student job as a freshman, I got a call on my phone as I was walking onto our (very small) campus. My (future) boss asked if I had time to meet up sometime that afternoon- he apologized for it being last minute, but wanted to meet me soon if I was available as he had a busy week. I had some time to come in, but cautiously noted I wasn’t dressed for an interview (ratty jeans and sweater) and wouldn’t have time to go and change. Three years later, one of the full-time workers in that school department told me that impressed my boss a lot, that I even had the self-awareness about office culture to mention that. I got the job based on a lot of things, but apparently it helped a bit. Seemed obvious to me, but I guess they’d had a few candidates who couldn’t suss it out.

  21. Rocket Scientist*

    My friend/coworker was responsible for the lunch interview and suggested to the candidate that they go to a restaurant which had excellent local cuisine. The candidate asked if they could go to a strip club instead.

    The manager of that division was female and immediately disqualified him, based solely on that.

    1. ZSD*

      Well, hey, as long as you’ve got somebody paying your way, you might as well get some perks.

      1. LD*

        Yes. My husband once left a job where some of the clients always expected to go to strip clubs on his company’s dime. When the company wouldn’t back him up, he found another job.

      2. Rocket Scientist*


        However that company was very “old boys’ club” and it probably wouldn’t have gone done that way.

  22. Wendy Darling*

    I was interviewing a candidate for a research job that involved wrangling research participants. I asked him to tell me about a time he’d encountered a difficult customer and how he dealt with it.

    He told me about the time he punched a guy out to stop a bar fight.

    The worst part is we hired him against my objections and later had to fire him for being belligerent and unprofessional.

      1. Wendy Darling*

        I know!! I warned them!

        We were up against a time limit and he had some skills we really needed that none of the other applicants were strong with, but it turns out that’s not really relevant if the guy is bullying his teammates and being rude to research participants. He was on thin ice for a while and was then fired for basically asking his supervisor if they could take their argument outside.

        1. afiendishthingy*

          Wow. I would have lorded that over my coworkers at every opportunity, forever. “Oh yeah? You think we should get coconut cake for Sue’s birthday? You also thought we should hire Bar Fight Guy. Unless you want a repeat of that, take my advice and get funfetti.”

          1. Wendy Darling*

            Unfortunately I was the biggest cheerleader for our other terrible hire in that time period, the guy who responded to our asking him to sign an NDA by emailing us a multi-page philosophical treatise about secrecy and human rights and then quitting (less than 4 hours into the job), causing scheduling chaos. So if I said “Well you thought we should hire Bar Fight Guy” they could very reasonably counter with “YOU said we should hire Too Good For NDAs Guy”. :)

  23. JustaTech*

    At a previous job I interviewed undergraduates for a part-time (no class credit) job in my lab. I had one candidate show up looking like all his clothes had come off the bottom of the laundry pile, but he was wearing a button-down so I let that slide. Then the lab manager asked “What is your greatest weakness?” and his answer was “I’m unmotivated.”
    He followed that up with “I know I’m not going to get this job because la jobs always go to Asian kids.” He was sitting with his back towards our lab, which was 50% Chinese.

    And to think we picked him to interview over the kid whose resume printed yellow-on-white!

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      He was awful, but still, no one should ever get a job with a yellow-on-white resume; it just encourages them.

      1. JustaTech*

        I begged my lab manager to be allowed to e-mail that kid and tell them to change their font, but she said it wasn’t our place to fix that kind of thing. :(

        We did get one resume that was amazing: the candidate made working at a Subway sound like an interesting, challenging job with lots of opportunities to learn and grow. I told the lab manager I didn’t care that the undergrad hadn’t taken a few classes we usually wanted, I wanted to meet this person. Sadly we were an off-campus lab and they got a better job elsewhere.

        All the undergrads we did hire were great and we kept several after they graduated. The scientists on the other hand, well, some of them were a lesson in why you should call references.

        1. Wendy Darling*

          My team at my last job didn’t used to call references because we mostly hired people for short term (less than 6 months) contracts and usually needed to hire very quickly.

          Then we hired the guy who was amazing on paper and in interviews but it turned out his entire resume was fabricated and he had none of the skills he claimed to have. Now they check references.

        2. Mallory Janis Ian*

          Weird coincidence: I went to our university caterer’s open house this afternoon, and the cater manager was going around getting people’s opinions about their new menu. She was jotting down notes in a notepad, and when she came to interview me, I could see that she was writing with a pale yellow gel pen on white paper. My AAM/real worlds are colliding.

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Someone recommended this here awhile back, and I had many sleepless nights exhausting the archives. The stories are awesome!

    2. Liana*

      This is amazing. I’ve been looking for a new go-to site to add to my rotation (I’ve been feeling a bit lost since The Toast shut down), and I’ll definitely spend some time here.

  24. Ask a Manager* Post author

    By the way, I am thinking of using this slot on Thursday mornings for “ask the readers” posts — either the kind I’ve done here or “here’s a letter with no answer from me; let’s see what readers say about it.” (My schedule is a little crunched right now and I’m looking for ways to create some room in it.) Does that sound boring/annoying/horrible? Fun? Do you not care either way?

    1. SaraV*

      A) Great stories/advice to be given by commenters that usually don’t have a way to share said advice/stories
      B) Frees up time for you…

      I say this is a win-win situation.

    2. AndersonDarling*

      That sounds great! I’ve thought about sending in discussion topics before…because sometimes my questions don’t have a right answer, it’s more about getting experiences and opinions from the group.

    3. TheCupcakeCounter*

      If it is like this one I am all for it! Having the best time reading these stories!!!!

    4. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Some comment sections’ readers — no. This comment section’s readers — YES!

    5. addlady*

      You’re better off with ask the readers because otherwise you might get yourself into a position where you’re monitoring like crazy.

    6. The Optimizer*

      I like it! How about hirings gone wrong for the next one? You know, people who seemed great in an interview, got hired and immediately became an obvious mistake.

      1. TheCupcakeCounter*

        Or the worst way you have ever been told/found out you didn’t get the job. I have a great one from an internal opportunity…

    7. Biggle*

      I would really enjoy this! You have some of the best readers out of all the blogs I follow and I feel like they usually have really interesting/professional/polite different points of view things to say.

    8. LSCO*

      I think it sounds great! There’s such a great comment community on here, I’m sure there are loads of stories & nuggets of advice that everyone would be more than happy to share.

    9. Dawn*

      YESSSS! I love user stories! They’re my favorite part in the weekly open threads when someone asks for stories. LOVE THEM!!!!!

    10. LQ*

      I’m all for it!

      I don’t know if it would be more or less work but the things where you’ve had people who are regular commentators from other industries answer questions too are something I’ve enjoyed in the past. (I can see how that might be more work, but I’m not really sure.)

    11. Augusta Sugarbean*

      I like the “ask the readers” posts for sure. Can one of the topics be something like “What’s your best job experience?/Tell us about a great manager/company.”?

      I’m job hunting and while my current job is really, really awful, it’s at least an “enemy you know” type situation. Sometimes reading the letters here gives me pause and I wonder if I’ll end up somewhere worse. I know that’s just a false impression because no one writes in and says “Hey Alison, my job is great, my co-workers are great, my manager is great!” but it’d be nice to periodically hear positive experiences. (I’m sure they are some interspersed in the comments but it’d be nice to have a repository.)

      1. AndersonDarling*

        The good experience stories are a super boost to my mood. I love them! I love it when we get updates with happy endings, and I love it when the Friday Open Thread commentors have stories about finding jobs after a long stretch of unemployment.

      2. Marina*

        I was fired from a toxic job, unemployed for 5 months, terrible-but-not-as-toxic job for a year, and have just hit my 90 days in a job that pays well, with good benefits, boss and department that genuinely want to see me succeed, and tasks I am enthusiastic about. It’s possible. You can do it.

      3. ArtsNerd*

        I have the BEST boss right now, and a job that I really love. They do exist.

        But I will note that they seem to be “easier” to get when you have the luxury of waiting… potentially a couple of years… to find the right next step vs. just needing to escape a bad environment. I hopped from a terrible situation to a not-great-but-WAY-better one where my work was much more visible to my professional community, so I was able to get some good work done, build up a solid reputation and bide my time to take/make opportunities that worked out really well for me.

        I didn’t always believe it was possible, and I’m still pretty jaded about my field, but I’m so very happy with where my career is now.

    12. Just A Girl*

      I’d be a little sad: reader content is lovely, but very different from the one-letter response that usually goes in this slot. It’s more similar to the Friday open thread (which is also lovely, but a noticeable departure from actual Alison Advice).

      Would doing this on a different day– say, Tuesday– still help with the scheduling issue?

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        My thinking was Thursday because it’s a somewhat lower traffic day, and if new readers are coming to the site, I like them to have the best chances of seeing a post at the top that’s more typical of what’s normally here. (I have no idea if this logic is sound or not.)

    13. Graciosa*

      Either option is fine with me.

      Do not underestimate how much we enjoy and appreciate what you do.

      The corollary is that we are happy to accept adjustments that allow you to keep doing it. ;-)

    14. AnonEMoose*

      But…but…how will I possibly find time to read all the awesome comments? I mean, when I’m at work, I actually have to work!

      (Seriously, I think this is a really interesting idea, and I’d like to see it tried.)

    15. Elizabeth West*

      I love it when you do that. I know there will be lots of interesting comments to read! My favorites are the ones like this, where we get to tell stories. :D

    16. Jack the Treacle Eater*

      Ask the readers. ‘No answer from me’ risks partial viewpoints, pile ons, you having to spend the time monitoring anyway, letter writer dissatisfaction at not getting the AAM viewpoint. Nothing against posters here who are usually calm, objective and there’s enough to get all viewpoints, but sometimes there can be a hive mind sort of thing.

      1. OhNo*

        I agree. As awesome as the comments section is here, I think having letters with just reader responses might lead to some issues. I’m also thinking that someone would write in and be disappointed because they didn’t get a response from Alison, just us random readers.

        Perhaps you could offer people who write in the option, though? If they note that their letter is okay for comment-only response, that might preemptively solve the problem!

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I think if it’s between that and no response at all (because most letters don’t actually get answered here, just due to volume), people will be fine with it but who knows…

    17. Lee*

      I think there’s a feminist slant from some of the primary commentators on here that skews an objective opinion on submitted questions.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        But there is a feminist slant from me too (just as I also have a non-racist slant, I hope). I mean, I hope no one would ever say “that Ask a Manager blog, she really doesn’t believe that women have the same value as men.”

          1. Lee*

            My initial thought was to say you don’t appear to have agenda when replying to letters, and I believe some commenters do have an agenda that bleeds through into their answers.

            1. N.J.*

              That’s what makes this commenting community so valuable thought, the diversity of agendas, or to word it in a more positive way-the diversity of beliefs, opinions and life experiences that inform and shape how the commenters here may interpret a question or issue. It can be uncomfortable to face strong opinions, sure, but an “agenda” that includes equality for women is never a bad thing. I’m assuming you are identifying a certain type of commenter who always identifies the (insert cause) spin or slant on a situation, such as feminism. I would argue though that there is great value in hearing from our commenters with agendas, even strong ones, if for no other reason than that we can debate if that person’s particular viewpoint is applicable to a question or issue. Feminism is not a dirty word, ever. It is uncomfortable for a lot of people to be prompted, willingly or not, to evaluate a situation with so many different lenses (feminist lense, anti-racism lense, generational lense etc.) because it removes the safety of a straightforward answer and destroys the idea that there is one set of rules that we can all apply to life and the working world, but that limits our ability to combat issues and biases and our ability to even see them.

              Bring on the agendas, ESPECIALLY the feminist ones!

              1. Lee*

                I didn’t actually think of things that way, but I do agree with you and would never want to discourage the diversity of thoughts here (and I like the idea of folks debating different view points).

            2. Anon Moose*

              By that you mean… some of the commenters may have a different perspective on workplace issues than you, very possibly due to their experiences and background, which may include factors like age, race and gender? Is that not the point of a comment section, to have differing viewpoints?
              I’d be interested particularly in any specific examples of said feminist bias. What precisely do you feel is objectionable?

              1. Lee*

                One of the issues is the term “mansplaining” used on this site. I feel this term broadly paints females as generally always in the right and any male that disagrees is wrong or talking down. I think this term derails the idea of feminism specifically, as it implies female superiority over males, not equality.
                I understand historically males have been dominant in the workplace and females were talked down to. That landscape is significantly changing (more women are working now than men, graduating college and becoming CEOs).
                Alison’s defense of this term, and the subsequent commentators relaying their experiences that inevitably end with a male talking down to a female started to feel biased. Do we just ignore situations when women talk down to other women? When women belittle men? Are we going to create a cutesy pun about it?
                The word ‘patronizing’ already exists, and while its rooted in the problems of patriarchal leadership, at least it can apply to both men and women. “Mansplaining” is a sexist term that, in my opinion, alienates the male commenters of this site and discourages anyone who disagreed.

                1. The Butcher of Luverne*

                  I think this term derails the idea of feminism specifically, as it implies female superiority over males, not equality.

                  On the contrary. It implies that the man in question is condescending and belittling a woman. That is actually (supposed) male superiority over females.

                2. Lee*

                  @The Butcher of Luverne
                  “It implies that the man in question is condescending and belittling a woman. That is actually (supposed) male superiority over females.”
                  A male being condescending and belittling a female, when the female knows more than the male or is in the right, does not imply (supposed) male superiority. It implies arrogance on the males part and is a very negative term. I’m sure instances where men incorrectly and condescendingly belittle women occurs. As does instances where women belittle other women, women who belittle men, or men who belittle other men.
                  However, in my opinion, supporting this gender-specific term paints men in a very broad unflattering light, and will turn off most male readers.
                  There are plenty of other verbs to use in the English language. I don’t understand what you’re arguing exactly.

                3. Serafina*

                  “Mansplaining” is a method of calling out sexist behavior. Referring to sexist behavior by males towards females as “mansplaining” is not sexist anymore than calling out anti-black behavior by whites is racist. This is not part of a “feminist agenda” in a respect that is in any way inappropriate – mansplaining is a sexist behavior that can and should be called out and eliminated. The fact that YOUR agenda is so clearly to halt discussion of it merely marks you as part of the sexist silencing agenda that so many women have to struggle against to be taken seriously and treated with equal respect alongside male colleagues and by male colleagues.

                  As for Alison, I do hope she doesn’t back down from permitting open discussion of sexist behavior in the workplace, including practices like mansplaining, as they are legitimate and recognizable demeaning acts by male colleagues towards female colleagues.

        1. HDB*

          Such a good answer! Your “feminist slant” is a big part of why I respect your advice and enjoy your writing.

      2. Mookie*

        Advice columns don’t exist to be “objective.” Letter-writers are specifically and explicitly requesting informed feedback, and being informed requires experience and judgement.

        1. Mookie*

          Also, “objective opinion” on this topic–human behavior, decorum and custom, law regarding employment and labor–is an oxymoron.

    18. junipergreen*

      Yes! I come here primarily for your advice, but I also love the community you’ve built here and love hearing what other readers have to say.

    19. GiantPanda*

      Sounds like a great idea, but does it have to be Thursday? With the big Open threads on Friday and Saturday I’d prefer a short break somewhere.

    20. Mimmy*

      It’s a lot to read because the number of comments shoots up early, but I know many readers enjoy these type of threads – some of the stories they generate can be downright funny!

      My favorite, though, was the thread where you asked readers to describe their job, then answer questions from others.

    21. Snargulfuss*

      Yes! I LOVE these posts!

      For what they’re worth, here are a few ideas:
      – How about one on how people transition from one career to another, especially without quitting their current job to go back to school. How do you put a new skill into practice when it’s not part of your current job.
      – Best (aka worst) office Halloween costumes and antics
      – Best and worst boss stories
      – Dream jobs (I think there was a long thread on this in one of the Friday posts and it was really fun)
      – What did you think was most important about a job when you first started out vs. what’s most important to you now

      1. Christopher Tracy*

        – How about one on how people transition from one career to another, especially without quitting their current job to go back to school. How do you put a new skill into practice when it’s not part of your current job.

        I like this topic idea. I’d also like to see a redo of the post your job and salary thread where people stated how much they made when they first started in their professional careers and where they ended up. I’m thinking of making another career change soon, so it would be interesting to see what jobs pay what.

      2. Mimmy*

        Similar to the first idea: Readers who are undecided on their career path could post brief details–e.g. interests, skills, past experience–and others can offer suggestions. It’s something I’ve been struggling with, but I think those just starting out in the workforce, such as those about to graduate college, may benefit as well.

    22. vpc*


      Possible topic: malapropisms.

      I was in a training class this week where the presenter was soliciting answers from participants and at one point got herself tangled up and uttered the line, “….self pleasure, yep, that’s the first thing you stop doing.”

      I know we’ve all had that foot-in-mouth moment, either ourselves or cringing on others’ behalf! must be some great stories out there.

  25. Jake*

    I was interviewing a batch of candidates for an administrative assistant position with a duration of roughly 10 months to a year at an hourly rate towards the bottom of market rate with basically no benefits.

    Throughout the process, I was very very open about my max salary and benefits starting with the end of each phone screen. There was 0 chance I could exceed the salary without being fired, as I tried several times on a hire for the same position in the same location 6 months earlier, and was not successful.

    At the end of one of my in person interviews the candidate started asking about benefits, and I restated the salary.

    She broke down rambling and crying, saying things like, “I know you can afford more” and “you don’t know what it’s like working around a bunch of caddy women as a temp.”

    As I tried to defuse the situation by saying, I understand but I have no flexibility, she snapped and went on a rant about greedy businesses only care about profit, and our business can clearly afford more, etc.

    After 5 minutes of this rant I escorted her out. I dodged a bullet because prior to the freak out she would have been under consideration.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          From Jake’s spelling, if it was actually “caddy” and not “catty”, I would have guessed it was shorthand for “people who can afford Cadillacs”.

    1. Dan*

      While I’m not sure I’m on board with her delivery, I’m certainly onboard with the sentiment. Bottom end of market rate plus no benefits screams CHEAP employer. I hate to say it, but I think a lot of people dodged bullets with this one.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        But she knew it before she came in for the interview. It’s not like it came as a surprise.

        1. ArtsNerd*

          YES. I’ve had someone give me the hard salary cap on the first phone screen because it was so low for the position and location, and I was able to withdraw from consideration on good terms. End of a boring, drama-free story.

  26. Development Professional*

    I may have told this story here before, but….

    We had an out of town candidate for a high level position who had done reasonably well in a phone interview. We invited him for a second round in person, but explained that we didn’t have the funds to pay his travel expenses (this was a teeny tiny nonprofit, and we were hiring for only the second paid staff position). He agreed on a Thursday to come in on two Mondays later – i.e. 10 days later. We scheduled a panel of 6 board and staff members to interview him.

    The Sunday night before his scheduled interview, he emails my colleague who had set it up, complaining that plan tickets were too expensive, and could he just interview by Skype instead? Why he didn’t already have a plane ticket in hand, since it had been 10 days since it was scheduled, I have no idea. We declined, saying that at this stage and for an executive, we really needed to meet in person. He became irate, saying that we should really be more flexible for him, since he was coming from another industry and basically we should be lucky that he was even considering us. We held firm, and he sent yet another email back, still claiming that we were being unreasonable. That was the end of his candidacy.

    1. Bee Eye LL*

      Airline ticket prices do fluctuate daily and he may have been watching them via a website hoping to see a deal pop up and it just never happened. I know you can write off job search expenses on taxes, so there are ways to offset it. However this is one of the burdens of looking for out of town jobs – there’s an expense involved.

      1. SystemsLady*

        Just about every travel site claims it happens, but from what I’ve seen you would never, ever get such a big discount from buying last minute that it’d actually be worth the risk of more commonly paying hundreds more for a longer itinerary.

        Granted, I fly a lot of domestic giant hub to giant hubs (sometimes with a regional at the front end, but same point applies if you’ll be stuck laying over for a hub to hub no matter what).

        If you’re flying to Japan outside of spring and summer or something, then sure, maybe that happens sometimes.

    2. Dan*

      I had a company tell me to book my interview ticket and they’d pay me back… except the ticket was $1600. I was worried they thought I was trying to rip them off or something, but they reimbursed it without a hassle. I got an offer, too.

      I get you work for a non-profit, but you guys won’t cover travel expenses for *executive* level hires? While I disagree with his delivery, I think his sentiment is more or less accurate. I work for a non-profit, and every out of town interview I’ve ever had, the employer has covered the travel expenses. I’m so used to having my expenses paid that if someone told me I had to pay them myself, I’d pass.

      1. Development Professional*

        I’ve had it go both ways at various nonprofits of various sizes, but in this case, the org’s entire yearly budget was $250K, and the job paid $40K a year with no benefits. This was explicitly stated in the job posting AND we confirmed that he understood it and was ok with both salary and the lack of reimbursement during the phone interview AND when setting up the second interview. He was free to decline politely at any of those junctures. Frankly, our pool of local candidates was at least as good as this one out of towner (if not better), and we had no trouble making the hire locally.

      2. Observer*

        Paying for an out of town hire to travel is not a universal practice. Especially for a really small place that has very few staff, it’s not unreasonable to not pay. As long as an organization is up front about it, I see no problem.

        If that’s something that’s a deal breaker, that’s fine. But you do NOT get to change your mind about this the day before your interview. This is not about delivery, this is about reneging on an agreement.

        1. Dan*

          Actually, you *do* get to change your mind about it the day before you interview. You just shouldn’t assume they’ll continue the process with you.

          1. Observer*

            Well, you get to change your mind. Because it’s a free country. But, it’s not a delivery problem. It’s a either a problem with keeping commitments or with thinking through what you are committing to. And neither is much good for an employer.

  27. Cafe au Lait*

    I worked at a community college library as a circulation manager. One applicant was rather pushy; “checking in” on the status of her application every time she came to study and the like. What really made me headtilt was when I was walking from one building to another, and saw the applicant back-up to the corner of a building and start moving up and down. Like a bear backs up to a tree to satisfy an itch.

    She saw me as she was doing this, and called out “Hey, YOU, Library Lady. Did you get my application? Am I getting an interview?”

    I mentioned her to my coworker later that afternoon. His response was: “There is no fucking way she’s getting an interview.”

    Apparently the applicant had threatened my coworker with a pistol when he worked at a payday advance service, and he came to her house to collect her loan.

      1. Dan*

        Well… it’s generally not within the norm to have a bill collector show up personally. I may very well do the same thing. There’s a process to collect (or not) on delinquent debt, and in person visits aren’t part of the deal. In fact, it’s quite possible that the woman could have sued the company and won.

        The only exception, AFAIK, is a repo man informing you that the property has been seized.

        1. Cafe au Lait*

          I didn’t think that payday lenders showed up in person either. I guess my coworker did quite a few house calls during his time there.

          He also said it was a very crappy, horrible place to work.

          1. Cafe au Lait*

            Oh, it also sounds like there were several tiers of contact.

            Tier 1: You show up in person to pay off, or pay off a portion of your loan.
            Tier 2: If you stop paying your loan, the company moves on to phone calls.
            Tier 3: After several instances of “no contact”, the company moved onto showing up to your house in person.

        1. OhNo*

          In person bill collection or not, I’m definitely more weirded out by the fact that she drew a gun on them. That certainly wouldn’t be my first instinct if a collection agent showed up at my door.

          (Running and hiding might be, though. Clearly my fight-or-flight response leans pretty heavily in one direction.)

    1. LBK*

      Apparently the applicant had threatened my coworker with a pistol when he worked at a payday advance service, and he came to her house to collect her loan.

      Uhhhh what!?!

      1. Isabel*

        I am interested in hearing more about your coworker. Bill collecting thug to librarian? The intrigue!

    2. Mookie*

      Everybody’s focusing on the gun and the loan, but I want to give the Baloo impersonation some love.

      1. Mander*

        I can totally see myself doing that, because itchy back sucks. But I wouldn’t shout out to ask if you got my application.

  28. C N B*

    I worked at a very small non-profit with only about 8-10 employees, several of them part-time. We desperately needed an IT person as the internet exploded upon us about 15 years ago. During a group interview of a young, techie, candidate, the ED asked him “how would your current supervisor describe you – in a couple of words?”

    His answer: ” oh, I guess, ‘loose cannon’ ” – didn’t get the job…

    1. Bee Eye LL*

      Hahah I once had a guy apply where he came from a small office and was the only IT guy. During the interview he actually told us he loves working by himself because he doesn’t get along well with others and then admitted to getting into arguments with “the last IT guy” they had there. He didn’t get hired, either.

    2. SJ*

      I’m sure he didn’t say it like this, but I’m picturing him saying “loose cannon,” winking, and doing finger guns.

        1. LBK*

          This is even funnier now having read Jamie’s story below where a guy actually did do finger guns and wink during an interview.

      1. Jamie*

        doing finger guns

        That’s the phrase I was looking for! Thank you, it was making my brain itchy.

    3. Guam Mom*

      To that very same question, I once had a candidate respond, “She always says I am a bull in a china shop… I don’t know what that means but it has to be good because she is always smiling when she says it!”

      Nope, nope, nope.

  29. Dip-lo-mat*

    Waaaaay back when I was a paralegal, my boss received a resume in triplicate–one copy in English, one in French, and one in Japanese. Also, the person’s name was in shadowed text.

    Into the trash can it went.

    1. FD*

      While being trilingual could be a useful skill on your resume, I feel like this isn’t quite the way to show it.

    2. Miaw*

      I think it depend on the industry, but I would have been impressed if I received a resume in 3 different languages. To give a bit of background, we deal with global clients who do not necessarily speak English, so foreign language skills are asset.

      1. Lemon Zinger*

        Yes! Though it would have made more sense to just hand in the resume in the language used by the organization, and to indicate there that he spoke French and Japanese.

        1. Dip-lo-mat*

          Yes. It would have. Even in my current foreign affairs agency (see me username), this is, by far, the only acceptable method unless otherwise specifically asked.

        2. Gaara*

          My practice involves international litigation, and certain language skills are very valuable. I agree that way would be better, but I certainly wouldn’t have thrown that in the trash.

        3. Marillenbaum*

          Exactly. I can technically write my resume in French, but I’m not going to do that unless I’m applying to a French company for a French-speaking position, or the company explicitly asked me to.

    3. Apparatchic*

      I don’t get this one. Sure, it’s overboard, but just the name in shadowed text and different languages doesn’t seem like instant trash-canning to me?

      1. Dip-lo-mat*

        Well, we were a corporate insurance law firm. No request for language and read as obnoxiously show-off-y. What my boss cared about was your ability to be super organized, meet deadlines, deal with difficult clients/opposing counsel/etc. What the overachievers fresh out of fancy schools wanted to show him was that they were so so so smart.

        On the shadowed text, think the text that looks like it’s casting a shadow on the floor. If someone handed you a resume in comic sans or a font that conveys similar gravitas for a position in a corporate law firm, would you seriously consider it?

      1. Nanani*

        If so, it would be really obvious from the formatting.
        Japanese resume conventions are VERY different from Western ones, so if the Japanese resume is formatted the same way as the other two, that immediately tells you this person is clueless – either about work standards in Japanese culture (if all are formatted Western style) or Western ones (if all are Japanese style).
        Legitimately including all languages for a position that requires them necessarily involves adapting your materials to the applicable cultures.

        1. Julia*

          I was in such a bind when I applied for my current Japanese job and they demanded a resume, in English or Japanese. If I only sent in an English resume, would I have to include information the Japanese want, but that are no-nos in the US? Which format? I think in the end, I did a compromise of both.

          1. Nanani*

            Oh god yes, those mandatory fields of Japanese resumes that are awkward to illegal in other countries gave me serious discomfort!
            I have been getting away without the headshot, but including the rest.

            *For the curious, standard Japanese resumes, for which you can buy an actual paper template, include: A headshot of the applicant in a suit, date of birth, current age at application time, marital status, number of dependents, and place of birth in addition to the things you’d expect elsewhere like work history and relevant experience.

    4. Karo*

      The only time I can see this making sense is if you were in someplace like Montreal, where you have to be proficient in French and English, and are also working for a client that requires you to speak Japanese. And all of this is stated clearly in the ad.

      1. SystemsLady*

        Even then, I’d save that gimmick for the cover letter. It’s actually a good idea there, as it provides an example of your ability to write (and properly localize) correspondence!

        That’s particularly important for French – you wouldn’t want to close a formal French letter with a literal translation for “Sincerely”, nor would you want an English letter to close with the line “Please accept, Mr. Stark, the expression of my highest regards.”

        1. Marillenbaum*

          This is giving me flashbacks to Mme. Cali’s Professional French class: three-and-a-half hours, complete with fifteen-minute smoke break midway.

        2. Mephyle*

          Or Spanish– in Mexico, one of the commonest polite ways to close a formal letter is “Since I have nothing more to say now, I bid you farewell with warmest regards.” I am not making this up.

    5. Nanani*

      I have sent the triplicate resume in those exact languages.
      1) It was email (or attachment uploaded to a webform asking for them)
      2) I’m a translator :)

  30. all aboard the anon train*

    I had a candidate come in for an editorial assistant position and state that she had a master’s degree in creative writing so working instead of writing was beneath her and that she really just wanted to talk to someone about getting her manuscript published. For one thing, I’m an editor, not a book agent. For another, she kept acting like her degree meant she was guaranteed to get published, and in my experience a creative writing degree does not add any weight to whether or not someone’s manuscript even gets looked at (let alone whether that person can even write).

    She kept beginning every sentence with, “I’m a writer, so….” or “Because I have a creative writing degree”, and once it became clear she wasn’t interested in the job, I told her to get out and that no one would be looking at her manuscript. Last I heard, the recruiter sent her name to our agents and told them to blacklist her and trash any submissions she sent in. Publishing in a pretty small industry, so I’m sure word got around to the other houses.

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Hahaha. Did you literally stand up, hold open the door, and say “Get out”?

      1. some1*

        Yeah, I’d be interested to hear from Alison or anyone else to see if they ever decided to end an interview and how they did it.

        1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

          I have. I had a guy who was making some pretty sexist comments and kept ignoring the fact that I was the department head to be “buddy” with my male lead designer.

          We were about 15 minutes into our hour slot and instead of asking additional questions, I said “Well, that’s it on our end. Do you have any questions for us?”

          Looking back, I wish I had not offered him the opportunity to ask questions. Not that he asked anything bad, in fact, he asked the standard questions, and we were done in less than 25 minutes total. But I don’t know if he understood I cut the interview short, or if he just thought we were quick interviewers.

          1. Dan*

            TBH, he might have chalked it up to “efficient” interviewing. Even then, while he may very just assumed you learned everything you needed in 15 minutes (some interviewers are more efficient than others) he probably didn’t recognize that you had enough to reject him.

            1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

              Yeah, I always figured he walked away with no understanding of what actually happened.

              I’m often told I’m too polite for my own good.

        2. Collarbone High*

          Late to the party, but I once ended an interview after three questions.

          I asked the candidate to clarify something on his resume; he told me that if I had been paying attention, I would know the answer. It turned out the confusion stemmed from the fact his resume contained several major errors. (He was applying for a copy editing job.) When I pointed that out, he said, “Oh yeah, my wife mentioned that too. I told her to fix it, I guess she didn’t.”

          I stood up and said that the interview was over. He asked why, so I took 30 seconds to explain that I would not hire an editor who submitted a resume knowing it contained errors and blamed someone else for his carelessness. Then I walked out. (Not helping his case: he addressed all his comments to the only man in the room, who wasn’t the hiring manager, and the comment about his wife was said as though she was an incompetent secretary.)

        3. Formica Dinette*

          I once sat in on an interview where they guy answered his phone twice–once just as we were sitting down and again a few minutes later. After he hung up from the second call, my colleague ended the interview.

      2. all aboard the anon train*

        No standing up and holding open the door, but I did tell her that she wasted everyone’s time and that the interview was over. Then I escorted her to the receptionists desk to make sure she didn’t try to hand off her manuscript or badger anyone else in the office.

    2. shep*

      I have an MFA in creative writing and I would LOVE an editorial assistant position. I wonder what program she came from. Also what planet. MFA does not a publishing deal make, and the fact that she didn’t understand this at all is INSANE.

      1. shep*

        (Also I wonder how she was surviving financially as an MFA holder. I remained underemployed during and for a year and a half after my degree program, had to liquidate my savings, and jumped desperately out of the sinking ship that was my then-job into an only mildly more sound lifeboat. To beat the metaphor a little more, I’m on dry land in modest paradise now! But in my experience, an MFA just makes you overqualified and unhireable for almost everything unless someone takes a chance on you (which my now-supervisor did). Or you manage to break in with a coveted publishing position, which she totally botched.)

        1. all aboard the anon train*

          Based on her background and the prep school and undergrad university she went to, it looked like she came from money. Her resume listed a lot of “writing excursions” she took overseas (I asked about this out of curiosity because I thought maybe it was related to school, but turns out she just took her school vacations to go write in Europe, so). Some of the things she said during our very short interview led me to assume she was one of those lucky few who went into writing because she had someone financially backing her dream to be an artist.

          To be honest, I really don’t think MFAs even help someone break into the publishing industry. Most of my colleagues – myself included – have degrees in other subjects. But I think a lot of people misunderstand the publishing industry. I wouldn’t say it’s a great place for people looking to use their creative degrees, unfortunately. It’s pretty much quashed my own desire to read or write fiction for the foreseeable future.

          1. shep*

            My program is one of those rare MFA schools that has some sway in the children’s/young adult lit community with agents, so I’m lucky in that respect, but certainly would never bank on it to (1) get me published or (2) a position in publishing.

            Just, wow re: that applicant, though. I wish I had the financial resources to be half that entitled! (J/K. Mostly.) Good for you for shutting the situation down swiftly and with no room for her to badger you further!

              1. shep*

                Also to be clear: While it was difficult to find a job during and after my program, and while graduate expenses are nothing to shrug at, I LOVED LOVED LOVED my MFA experien